Exceptional Performance for Outstanding Miniature Robot – Live Journal

Exceptional Performance for Outstanding Miniature Robot – Live Journal

Photo Institute FEMTO-ST

It is often presented as the fastest miniature robot in the world. It is the truth, but it is not the only one of its qualities: MiGriBot was designed primarily to grab and move microcomponents, using a previously unseen technology. The goal has been achieved for its inventors, who are now working to advance it to the next stage: make him assemble these microcomponents. In the meantime, the team led by Redwan Dahmouche, teacher-researcher at the University of Franche-Comté / FEMTO-ST Institute, has achieved an extraordinary feat, by creating a robot capable of grasping an object not even visible to the eye. naked, to move it, then to position it with micrometer precision, or one thousandth of a millimeter. That 12 times in one second, or 720 times per minutewhich our eye cannot grasp either.

A world first!

This is a world first: in 2018, researchers at Harvard University had developed a microrobot with fast movements, but without a typing function, and in 2020, a team from the University of Tokyo had created a prototype. with pick-up and drop-off functions, but at a speed ten times slower and over a stroke ten times shorter. MiGriBot is further proof of the know-how of researchers from the AS2M department, combining developments in microrobotics and mastery of very small scales. “MiGriBot is designed according to a parallel architecture, in which the microgripper is, in an unprecedented way, controlled directly by the robot base “, explains Redwan Dahmouche.

Another innovation, MiGriBot has an articulated extremity, thanks to flexible polymer joints placed between rigid silicon elements, which allows the control of the microgripper in complete autonomy from the base. The structure is steered by piezoelectric actuators, themselves extended by extensions: by deforming under the action of an electric field, the actuators cause the extensions to move, which makes it possible toamplify the movement of the miniature robot from 80 µm to 1 mm, depending on the objectives. Successfully handling and assembling microcomponents means being able to develop ever smaller devicesand so gain in clutterraw materials and energy.

It also means taking advantage of properties that are specific to the nanometric scale: “Today we know how to produce nanocomponents, but not necessarily how to assemble them. Hence the need to develop new tools, for example to manufacture nanosensors useful for detection of toxic substances in the atmosphere and in the water, or of cancerous cells very upstream of the disease”. Searches around MiGriBot are conducted as part of the MiniSoRo projectfunded by theNational Research Agency (ANR) and Greater Besançon metropolis. The results already obtained were published last August in the scientific journal Science Robotics and have been patented.