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Thread: Microrobot Legs for Fast Locomotion Over Rough Terrain, Sarah Bergbreiter and her research team at the University of Maryland

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    Microrobot Legs for Fast Locomotion Over Rough Terrain, Sarah Bergbreiter and her research team at the University of Maryland

    Micro Robotics Lab -

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    Science Nation - As fast as their tiny 'bot' legs will carry them!

    Published on Apr 3, 2014

    Imagine robots no bigger than your finger tip scrambling through the rubble of a disaster site to search for victims or to assess damage. That's the vision of engineer Sarah Bergbreiter and her research team at the University of Maryland.

    With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the team is building micro-robots, using insects as inspiration--starting with the legs. The objective of this project is to create legs that will ultimately allow a millimeter-scale robot to traverse rough terrain at high speeds. Many insects jump to clear obstacles, so the research team is working to build that capability into some of the micro-robots as well.

    The researchers have to test out different materials and designs on bigger robots before scaling them down to size. In fact, these robots are so small that the research team uses microscopes to build them. To address the challenge of determining how these tiny 'bots' are going to move around, the researchers' preliminary are testing process uses magnets instead of motors.

    Bergbreiter envisions the micro-robots as mobile sensor platforms that can move through real-world environments at insect-like speeds for a variety of purposes, such as searching through small cracks in rubble after natural disasters, providing low-cost sensor deployment and engaging in stealthy surveillance.

    "This is a very worthwhile effort and is just the beginning of what we hope will be achieved in the future when these micro-robots are equipped with video sensors and wireless communications," says George Haddad, a program director in the Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems within NSF's Directorate for Engineering.

    The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #1055675, CAREER: Microrobot Legs for Fast Locomotion Over Rough Terrain.

    Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
    Ann Kellan, Science Nation Producer

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    Sarah Bergbreiter: Why I make robots the size of a grain of rice

    Published on Jan 21, 2015

    By studying the movement and bodies of insects such as ants, Sarah Bergbreiter and her team build incredibly robust, super teeny, mechanical versions of creepy crawlies … and then they add rockets. See their jaw-dropping developments in micro-robotics, and hear about three ways we might use these little helpers in the future.

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    Magnetically actuated quadruped microrobot

    Published on Jun 14, 2016

    The tiny robots weigh less than 2 grams and measure 20mm in length. They have the potential to get much smaller. They are 3-D printed, and then have magnetically actuated motors added to them.
    By changing the dipole orientation of the leg magnets in different combinations, the robot can move with different gaits, including trotting, waddling, bounding and pronking.

    This is research by Associate Professor Sarah Bergbreiter (ME/ISR) and her Ph.D. student Ryan St. Pierre.

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