Harvard Microrobotics LaboratoryHomeResearchPublicationsPeopleMediaOpportunitiesOutreachInternal
Research overview*

Remarked one unimpressed Yale researcher: "Leave it to the Harvard fellows to invent new and exciting ways to be irritating."


* for more details on these topics, please see our publications and our YouTube channel


Flapping-wing microrobots

BeeBanner

As the characteristic size of a flying robot decreases, the challenges for successful flight revert to basic questions of fabrication, actuation, fluid mechanics, stabilization, and power - whereas such questions have in general been answered for larger aircraft. When developing a flying robot on the scale of a common housefly, all hardware must be developed from scratch as there is nothing "off-the-shelf" which can be used for mechanisms, sensors, or computation that would satisfy the extreme mass and power limitations. This technology void also applies to techniques available for fabrication and assembly of the aeromechanical components: the scale and complexity of the mechanical features requires new ways to design and prototype at scales between macro and MEMS, but with rich topologies and material choices one would expect in designing human-scale vehicles. Our work explores the essential technologies for insect-scale robots including the following topics...

RoboBees! InsectWing Control
RoboBees: a convergence of body, brain, and colony Structure-function relationships for low-Re flapping flight Control techniques for computation-limited robots
Recent publications:
1234
Recent publications:
12
Recent publications:
1234
Elec PARITy Fab
Ultra-low mass, high efficiency power and control electronics Mechanical intelligence: passive control mechanisms Microfabrication of articulated and actuated microstructures: Pop-up book MEMS
Recent publications:
123
Recent publications:
123
Recent publications:
12
Modeling Scales PIV
System modeling and design Intermittent flight: morphology and controls for effective gliding and flapping Experimental fluid mechanics using at-scale models
Recent publications:
123
Recent publications:
1

 

Ambulatory microrobots

CentipedeBanner

We have demonstrated the ability to prototype multi-legged ambulatory robots on the scale of, and inspired by, both insects and myriapods. We use such at-scale prototypes and detailed dynamic models to parameterize the design space for multi-legged robots to optimize subject to various metrics (speed, stability, cost of transport, etc). Two examples are outlined below: the smallest fully autonomous hexapod robot and a centipede-inspired robot...

HAMR Actuation Fab
Development of hexapod-inspired autonomous robots Energy density optimized actuation for centimeter-scale autonomous robots Myriapod-like robots and the study of many-legged locomotion
Recent publications:
123
Recent publications:
12
Recent publications:
123

 

Soft actuators, sensors, and robots

SoftBanner

As our fabrication methods for microrobots evolved to include a greater diversity of materials, we began pursuing a new class of robots: soft robots. This is a paradigm shift since robots are traditionally thought of as precise and fast, due in part to structural rigidity, high force/torque actuators, and a large variety of available sensors. Robots based on soft materials may not share these traits, however we believe that soft robots enable new opportunities for robotics. Projects in this area include Active soft materials (materials that embed electrical or mechanical functionality in materials that are inherently soft, with characteristic modulus on the order of 100kPa to 1MPa), soft-bodied robots, and programmable materials...

Boat Sensor Mushroom
Programmable matter - self folding sheets of 'robotic origami' Soft functional materials: hyperelastic sensors and actuators Assistive soft orthotics and wearable human-computer interfaces
Recent publications:
123
Recent publications:
123
Recent publications:
12

Click here for high-quality version of "Soft Artificial Skin".

Harvard | SEAS | Wyss Institute | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Contact
Copyright © 2011 Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory