3 May 2012 Hair-based sensors for micro-autonomous systems
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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.
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Mahdi M. Sadeghi, Mahdi M. Sadeghi, Rebecca L. Peterson, Rebecca L. Peterson, Khalil Najafi, Khalil Najafi, } "Hair-based sensors for micro-autonomous systems", Proc. SPIE 8373, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV, 83731L (3 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919860; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.919860
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