Next Article in Journal
Infrared Ellipsometric Study of Hydrogen-Bonded Long-Chain Thiolates on Gold: Towards Resolving Structural Details
Previous Article in Journal
Recent Progress in Piezoelectric Conversion and Energy Harvesting Using Nonlinear Electronic Interfaces and Issues in Small Scale Implementation
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessCommunication
Micromachines 2011, 2(2), 295-305;

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)
Full-Text   |   PDF [476 KB, uploaded 15 June 2011]


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. View Full-Text
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 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

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

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Micromachines EISSN 2072-666X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top