Manipulating interfacial physics for novel multimodal and multiphase insect-scale robots
bstract: Several insect species, such as diving flies and diving beetles, exhibit remarkable locomotive capabilities in aerial, aquatic, and terrestrial environments, inspiring the development of similar capabilities in robots at the centimeter scale. In this talk I will present two insect-scale robots capable of multimodal and multiphase locomotion. I will start by presenting a 175mg, flapping wing robot that can hover in air, swim underwater, and impulsively jump out of the water surface through combustion. I will also introduce a 1.6g, quadrupedal robot capable of locomotion on land, on the surface of water, underwater, and between these environments. These results demonstrate that microrobots can achieve novel functions that are absent in larger, traditional robots, thereby showing the unique potential of microrobots in applications such as inspection and environmental exploration in cluttered spaces. I will further discuss major challenges and future directions in microrobotic research. Towards developing a swarm of robust and multifunctional insect-scale robots, I am working on creating a new class of microrobots – ones that are powered by high bandwidth soft actuators and equipped with rigid appendages for interactions with environments.