AI News, Small but fast: A miniaturized origami-inspired robot combines micrometer precision with high speed

Small but fast: A miniaturized origami-inspired robot combines micrometer precision with high speed

By integrating their microfabrication technique with high-performance composite materials that can incorporate flexural joints and bending actuators, the milliDelta can operate with high speed, force, and micrometer precision, which make it compatible with a range of micromanipulation tasks in manufacturing and medicine.

'The physics of scaling told us that bringing down the size of Delta robots would increase their speed and acceleration, and pop-up MEMS manufacturing with its ability to use any material or combination of materials seemed an ideal way to attack this problem,' said Wood, who is a Core Faculty member at the Wyss Institute and co-leader of its Bioinspired Robotics platform.

In addition, the team demonstrated that the milliDelta can operate in a workspace of about seven cubic millimeters and that it can apply forces and exhibit trajectories that, together with its high frequencies, could make it ideal for micromanipulations in industrial pick-and-place processes and microscopic surgeries such as retinal microsurgeries performed on the human eye.

'The work by Wood's team demonstrating the enhanced speed and control of their milliDelta robot at the millimeter scale opens entirely new avenues of development for industrial and medical robots, which are currently beyond the reach of existing technologies.

Small but fast: a miniaturized origami-inspired robot combines micrometer precision with high speed

By Benjamin Boettner (CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — Because of their high precision and speed, Delta robots are deployed in many industrial processes, including pick-and-place assemblies, machining, welding and food packaging.

Starting with the first version developed by Reymond Clavel for a chocolate factory to quickly place chocolate pralines in their packages, Delta robots use three individually controlled and lightweight arms that guide a platform to move fast and accurately in three directions.

By integrating their microfabrication technique with high-performance composite materials that can incorporate flexural joints and bending actuators, the milliDelta can operate with high speed, force, and micrometer precision, which make it compatible with a range of micromanipulation tasks in manufacturing and medicine.

“The physics of scaling told us that bringing down the size of Delta robots would increase their speed and acceleration, and pop-up MEMS manufacturing with its ability to use any material or combination of materials seemed an ideal way to attack this problem,” said Wood, who is a Core Faculty member at the Wyss Institute and co-leader of its Bioinspired Robotics platform.

In addition, the team demonstrated that the milliDelta can operate in a workspace of about seven cubic millimeters and that it can apply forces and exhibit trajectories that, together with its high frequencies, could make it ideal for micromanipulations in industrial pick-and-place processes and microscopic surgeries such as retinal microsurgeries performed on the human eye.

“The work by Wood’s team demonstrating the enhanced speed and control of their milliDelta robot at the millimeter scale opens entirely new avenues of development for industrial and medical robots, which are currently beyond the reach of existing technologies.

The Harvard Gazette

Because of their high precision and speed, Delta robots are deployed in many industrial processes, including pick-and-place assemblies, machining, welding, and food packaging.

By integrating their microfabrication technique with high-performance composite materials that can incorporate flexural joints and bending actuators, the milliDelta can operate with high speed, force, and micrometer precision, which together make it compatible with a range of micromanipulation tasks in manufacturing and medicine.

“The physics of scaling told us that bringing down the size of Delta robots would increase their speed and acceleration, and pop-up MEMS manufacturing, with its ability to use any material or combination of materials, seemed an ideal way to attack this problem,” said Wood, who is a core faculty member at the Wyss Institute and co-leader of its Bioinspired Robotics platform, and the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS.

Outrageously quick Milidelta robot moves too fast for your brain to comprehend

Developed by engineers at Harvard University, the Millidelta looks a lot like other Delta robots, industrial machines used for things like food packaging or welding thanks to their exceptional speed and precision.

“Smaller robots, and devices in general, generally have a higher mechanical bandwidth, meaning that they can perform trajectories at higher speeds and accelerations relative to larger robots,” Robert Wood, a Harvard engineer whose team designed the Millidelta, told Digital Trends.

In fact, roboticists have been scaling down the design for years in an effort to fit the devices into small workspaces, but have struggled to make them at millimeter scale using conventional manufacturing methods.

“Currently available Delta robots are only able to operate at a few hertz, so for our robot to be able to draw circles at frequencies up to 75 Hz is quite impressive.” Outside the lab, the Millidelta may find a number of uses, from small-scale assembly to microsurgeries, which Wood said, “would benefit from high-speed and precise motion.”

The milliDelta: A high-bandwidth, high-precision, millimeter-scale Delta robot

Delta robots have been widely used in industrial contexts for pick-and-place applications because of their high precision and speed.

We present the design, fabrication, and characterization of an adapted Delta robot at the millimeter scale (the “milliDelta”) that leverages printed circuit microelectromechanical system manufacturing techniques and is driven by three independently controlled piezoelectric bending actuators.

This 15 millimeter–by–15 millimeter–by–20 millimeter robot has a total mass of 430 milligrams and a payload capacity of 1.31 grams and operates with precision down to ~5 micrometers in a 7.01-cubic-millimeter workspace.

Miniaturized Robots Combine Engineering, Biological, and Manufacturing Technologies

A robot intended for miniaturization is the Delta type that uses three individually controlled and lightweight arms to guide a platform to move fast and accurately in three directions.

By integrating their microfabrication technique with high-performance composite materials that can incorporate flexural joints and bending actuators, the milliDelta can operate with high speed, force, and micrometer precision, which make it compatible with a range of micromanipulation tasks in manufacturing and medicine.

Completely unfolded, the milliDelta with 15 mm-by-15 mm-20 mm roughly compares to a penny, and uses piezoelectric actuators and flexural joints in its three arms to control high-frequency movements of a stage on top.

“The physics of scaling told us that bringing down the size of Delta robots would increase their speed and acceleration, and pop-up MEMS manufacturing with its ability to use any material or combination of materials seemed an ideal way to attack this problem,” said Wood, who is a Core Faculty member at the Wyss Institute and co-leader of its Bioinspired Robotics platform.

“This approach also allowed us to rapidly go through a number of iterations that led us to the final milliDelta.” The milliDelta design incorporates a composite laminate structure with embedded flexural joints that approximate the more complicated joints found in large-scale Delta robots.

In addition, the team demonstrated that the milliDelta can operate in a workspace of about seven cubic millimeters and that it can apply forces and exhibit trajectories that, together with its high frequencies, could make it ideal for micromanipulations in industrial pick-and-place processes and microscopic surgeries such as retinal microsurgeries performed on the human eye.

The work by Wood’s team demonstrating the enhanced speed and control of their milliDelta robot at the millimeter scale opens entirely new avenues of development for industrial and medical robots, which are currently beyond the reach of existing technologies.

“The work by Wood’s team demonstrating the enhanced speed and control of their milliDelta robot at the millimeter scale opens entirely new avenues of development for industrial and medical robots, which are currently beyond the reach of existing technologies.

This allows the millirobot to complete an obstacle course similar to what would be encountered in the human body: it can walk or roll across surfaces, jump across obstacles, crawl through narrow tubes and swim on or in liquids.

Measuring only 1 mm long and 4 mm from end to end, the robot uses tiny arms controlled by an electromagnetic field to propel its way through different cavities of the human body, looking for deadly tumors to treat.

Within the organ, ViRob could eventually be used to administer medicine or perform delicate procedures with minimal invasion. Researchers are eventually hoping that they will be able to outfit the robot with a miniature camera, tongs, or blades. With those, ViRob will be able to go into the body and directly administer medicine to tumors, retrieve biopsy samples, or take a few pictures for curious doctors.  A

problem for ViRob’s size is the crawling and burrowing mechanisms. It seems that a millimeter diameter hole in any organ would not be a pleasant experience and that it could possibly cause damage as the robot enters and exits various organs in routine checkups. The same could be said about the feet with which ViRob grabs onto the tissue. While it might not damage too many cells, a malfunctioning robot could wreak havoc inside of the body.

This Super-Fast Millimeter-Scale Robot Could Open New Medical Frontiers

The milliDelta Robot, the result of a collaboration between the Wyss Institute and Harvard SEAS, has been developed for three specific and far-reaching and ...