In micro-scale environment, contact forces such as adhesion and electrostatic forces, which are generally assumed to be negligible in general macro scale devices, affect the motions of MEMS devices significantly. This paper is an initial exploration of how such forces might influence the locomotion of multi-legged micro-robots, by matching the analytical dynamic simulations to the result from experiments on micro devices including a simple micro-cantilever beam and a bulk piezoelectrically-actuated micro-robotic prototype. Results imply that foot-terrain impacts focusing on primary effects related to electrostatic forces, adhesion forces, and an appropriate coefficient of restitution can provide a reasonable model of micro-scale behavior of a robotic foot.

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