A technological novelty announced by researchers at Harvard University may not have seven skirt skirts, but it runs, jumps and withstands heavy loads, in addition to being extremely agile. It is a new mini-robot inspired by cockroaches and that is half the size of a coin, one of the most skilful equipment ever developed.
Kaushik Jayaram, a scientist responsible for the novelty and a professor at the University of Colorado, explains that robots of this scale are usually simple and have limited functions, which is not the case with HAMR-JR, presented virtually at the 2020 International Robotics and Automation Conference: ” We have shown that it is not necessary to compromise dexterity or control in favor of size “.
Size is not a document
Creating something like that was easier than it looked. The team members wondered what was the possibility of applying the PC-MEMS process (short for printed circuit microelectromechanical systems) at different scales, both surgical and industrial. Through it, the components are recorded on a 2D sheet and then highlighted in their 3D structure. Those responsible only reduced the design of the robot’s 2D sheet – with the actuators and the integrated circuit – to create a smaller model with the same functionality as the larger ones.
“The most amazing part of this test was that we didn’t have to change anything from the previous design. We proved that the process can be applied to basically any device and in various sizes,” said Jayaram.
The apparent ease, however, does not detract from the achievement. The HAMR-JR is an impressive 2.25 centimeters and weighs just 0.3 grams, reaching a speed of up to 14 times its body length per second, making it one of the fastest micro robots available.
Since the reduction of scales affects all functionalities, models capable of predicting locomotion metrics were also created and can be adjusted to different specifications. Robert Wood, co-author of the study, welcomed the advances: “This new robot demonstrates that we have a good understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of reducing complex robots using our foldable assembly approach.”