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Proceedings Paper

Techniques for continuous power delivery to a group of 15-watt +3.3 to +/-150 VDC miniature wireless instrumented and fast-stepping robots through several thousand intermittent contacts between the
Author(s): Sylvain M. Martel; William Garcia de Quevedo; Ian Warwick Hunter
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Paper Abstract

It is well known that one of the major limitations in achieving small form factors in wireless electronic systems is the power source. This particularly holds true for a new class of miniature wireless robots such as the NanoWalker where complex and power-demanding electronics and computation must be embedded to support complex tasks at the molecular and atomic scales while providing very high throughputs in a fully autonomous manner. It is estimated that in a worst case, up to 15 Watts of continuous power may be required per robot. This power consumption comes mainly from the embedded 48 MIPS digital signal processing (DPS) and memory system, the drive and control electronics for the piezo- ceramic legs, the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) based control and instrumentation sub-system capable of 200,000 high-resolution readings/s, and the 4 Mb/s infrared (IR) communication interface. With these specifications coupled with the requirement to control the motion of the robot in the nanometer and micrometer ranges with several thousand steps/s, migrating some of the control functions to an external computer and exchanging data through the wireless communication channel is not an option because of additional latencies well beyond the short and highly predictable response periods required by the robots. To complicate the problem, the power delivery system must accommodate a large range of voltages between the electronics and the power amplifiers driving the piezo-ceramic legs. A solution based on continuous power delivery through a special walking surface with intermittent contacts with the robots during motion is described.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 October 2000
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4194, Microrobotics and Microassembly II, (11 October 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.403697
Show Author Affiliations
Sylvain M. Martel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
William Garcia de Quevedo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Ian Warwick Hunter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4194:
Microrobotics and Microassembly II
Bradley J. Nelson; Jean-Marc Breguet, Editor(s)

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