Abstract Microassembly systems utilizing precision robotics have long been used for realizing three-dimensional microstructures such as microsystems and microrobots. Prior to assembly, microscale components are fabricated using micro-electromechanical-system (MEMS) technology. The microassembly system then directs a microgripper through a series of automated or human-controlled pick-and-place operations. In this paper, we describe a novel custom microassembly system, named NEXUS, that can be used to prototype MEMS microrobots. The NEXUS integrates multi-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) precision positioners, microscope computer vision, and microscale process tools such as a microgripper and vacuum tip. A semi-autonomous human–machine interface (HMI) was programmed to allow the operator to interact with the microassembly system. The NEXUS human–machine interface includes multiple functions, such as positioning, target detection, visual servoing, and inspection. The microassembly system's HMI was used by operators to assemble various three-dimensional microrobots such as the Solarpede, a novel light-powered stick-and-slip mobile microcrawler. Experimental results are reported in this paper to evaluate the system's semi-autonomous capabilities in terms of assembly rate and yield and compare them to purely teleoperated assembly performance. Results show that the semi-automated capabilities of the microassembly system's HMI offer a more consistent assembly rate of microrobot components and are less reliant on the operator's experience andmore »
Teleoperation Interface for sAFAM, a Solid Articulated Four Axes Microrobot
The sAFAM is a novel mm-size microrobot built using MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) technology. It consists of a monolithically fabricated microrobotic arm assembled onto four in-plane actuators, capable of moving along four degrees of freedom, including translational movement in X and Y axes as well as pitch and yaw. In this paper, several design modifications were proposed to increase movement precision, stability, and controllability to the sAFAM tip. An interface is developed to assist a human operator accurately position the microrobot tip during nano-object handling. A Python-based graphical user interface (GUI) was programmed to make it intuitive for an operator to use and obtain required tip precision under a microscope. Experimental results demonstrate the functionality of the proposed control solution, and the tip motion resolution using microscope images of the microrobot tip under 20x magnification during operation. The hardware and software requirements for the proposed experimental setup and control platform are discussed in detail.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- 15th International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems (MNS)
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Microassembly systems utilizing precision robotics have long been used for realizing 3-dimensional microstructures such as microrobots. Prior to assembly, such components are fabricated using Micro-Electro-Mechanical-System (MEMS) technology. The microassembly system then directs a microgripper through automated or human-controlled pick-and-place operations. In this paper, we describe a novel custom microassembly system, named NEXUS. The NEXUS integrates multi-degree of freedom (DOF) precision positioners, microscope computer vision, and micro-scale process tools such as a microgripper and vacuum tip. A semi-autonomous human-machine interface (HMI) is programmed by NI LabVIEW® to allow the operator to interact with the microassembly system. The NEXUS human-machine interface includes multiple functions, such as positioning, target detection, visual servoing, and inspection. The microassembly system’s HMI was used by operators to assemble various 3-dimensional microrobots such as the Solarpede, a novel light-powered stick-and-slip mobile microcrawler. Experimental results are reported in this paper that evaluate the system’s semi-autonomous capabilities in terms of assembly rate and yield and compare them to purely teleoperated assembly performance. Results show that the semi-automated capabilities of the microassembly system’s HMI offer a more consistent assembly rate of microrobot components.
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