Palak Bhushan - Design and Fabrication of Insect-sized Robots



Phillips Hall 233


Abstract: In this talk I will look at the design of 0.1gram centimeter-scale robots utilizing different locomotion strategies as a means of transport. The focus will be on the electro-mechanical design needed to make these bots tether-less, which is a necessary precursor to making autonomous microbots. I will start with the design of a 130mg wheeled microbot which, using a low-voltage electromagnetic actuator and an on-board super-capacitor, is able to achieve untethered rolling motion at 27mm/s. Next, en route to constructing a 75mg jumping microbot, I will discuss the development of an energy storage mechanism which is capable of releasing the stored energy rapidly and passively. Using this along with laser-powered photovoltaic cells, untethered jumping up to heights of 8mm is achieved. I will then outline the fabrication of a fruit fly-scale sub-milligram flapping winged robot. Lastly, I will talk about the design of a novel low-power low-voltage resonant actuator to generate spinning wing motion to produce lift, and light-weight power electronics unit to power this actuator wirelessly using laser-powered photovoltaic cells. I will conclude by discussing exciting future directions in microbotics research including space exploration. Bio: Palak is a postdoc at the Hybrid Systems Lab at UC Berkeley. He received his PhD in EECS from UC Berkeley in 2019 working with Prof. Claire Tomlin. He works on the design of insect-sized robots, with a focus on making them autonomous. Before coming to Berkeley he received his bachelor's degree in EE from IIT Kanpur in 2013.