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Micromachines 2011, 2(2), 295-305; doi:10.3390/mi2020295

Jitterbot: A Mobile Millirobot Using Vibration Actuation

* ,
United States Naval Academy, 105 Maryland Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21402, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 May 2011 / Revised: 7 June 2011 / Accepted: 14 June 2011 / Published: 15 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microrobots)
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Microrobotics is a rapidly growing field with promising applications in microsurgery and microassembly. A challenge in these systems is providing power and control signals to the robot. This project explores crawling robots that are powered and controlled through a global mechanical vibration field. Structures within the robot will cause it to respond to particular frequencies with different motion modalities. A prototype, dubbed the “jitterbot”, was cut out of a 0.75 mm sheet of steel using electric discharge machining (EDM), and has a total footprint of approximately 30 mm × 20 mm in the xy-plane. The “robot” has a tripod body (8 mm × 16 mm) with three small legs, and two suspended masses that are designed for specific resonance frequencies. The robot was tested on a plate that was vibrated vertically at frequencies ranging from 20 to 2,000 Hz. For particular resonant frequencies, the robot moves forward and turns in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Finite element modeling confirms that the mechanism for motion is a rocking mode that is influenced by two arms that are suspended mass springs tuned to different frequencies. This lays the groundwork for further miniaturization.
Keywords: microrobotics; vibrational actuation; seismic actuation; FEM modeling microrobotics; vibrational actuation; seismic actuation; FEM modeling
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Firebaugh, S.; Piepmeier, J.; Leckie, E.; Burkhardt, J. Jitterbot: A Mobile Millirobot Using Vibration Actuation. Micromachines 2011, 2, 295-305.

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