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Proceedings Paper

Hair-based sensors for micro-autonomous systems
Author(s): Mahdi M. Sadeghi; Rebecca L. Peterson; Khalil Najafi
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Paper Abstract

We seek to harness microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies to build biomimetic devices for low-power, high-performance, robust sensors and actuators on micro-autonomous robot platforms. Hair is used abundantly in nature for a variety of functions including balance and inertial sensing, flow sensing and aerodynamic (air foil) control, tactile and touch sensing, insulation and temperature control, particle filtering, and gas/chemical sensing. Biological hairs, which are typically characterized by large surface/volume ratios and mechanical amplification of movement, can be distributed in large numbers over large areas providing unprecedented sensitivity, redundancy, and stability (robustness). Local neural transduction allows for space- and power-efficient signal processing. Moreover by varying the hair structure and transduction mechanism, the basic hair form can be used for a wide diversity of functions. In this paper, by exploiting a novel wafer-level, bubble-free liquid encapsulation technology, we make arrays of micro-hydraulic cells capable of electrostatic actuation and hydraulic amplification, which enables high force/high deflection actuation and extremely sensitive detection (sensing) at low power. By attachment of cilia (hair) to the micro-hydraulic cell, air flow sensors with excellent sensitivity (< few cm/s) and dynamic range (> 10 m/s) have been built. A second-generation design has significantly reduced the sensor response time while maintaining sensitivity of about 2 cm/s and dynamic range of more than 15 m/s. These sensors can be used for dynamic flight control of flying robots or for situational awareness in surveillance applications. The core biomimetic technologies developed are applicable to a broad range of sensors and actuators.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 May 2012
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 8373, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV, 83731L (3 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919860
Show Author Affiliations
Mahdi M. Sadeghi, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Rebecca L. Peterson, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Khalil Najafi, Univ. of Michigan (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8373:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam; Achyut Dutta, Editor(s)

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