• Harvard researchers develop a coin-sized robot

    Date:8 June 2020 Author: Kyro Mitchell

    Researchers from Harvard University developed a robot called The Harvard Ambulatory Micro-robot (HAMR) inspired by the speed and resilience of cockroaches.

    The little robot, created in 2018, was able to run at high speeds, jump, carry payloads, climb, turn sharply, and fall from great distances without sustaining damage.

    Now it seems as though the HAMR designers have gone back to the drawing board to create the HAMR-JR, a smaller version of the already tiny robot.

    HAMR-JR is about the size of your average coin and can perform the same tasks as its larger predecessor, which makes it one of the most dexterous micro-bots built to date.

    The main goal of this project was looking for an answer as to whether the pop-up manufacturing process that was used to build past versions of HAMR could be used to build robots at different scales.

    The pop-up manufacturing process, or PC-MEMS, involves etching components into a 2D sheet and then popping it out in its 3D structure, similar to how origami works when folding paper.

    Take a look at the process of PC-MEMS construction below:

    In order to build the HAMR-JR, the team of researchers shrunk the 2D sheet design of the original HAMR robot, along with the actuators and onboard circuitry to create a smaller robot with the same functionality. Best of all, the researchers did not have to remove anything from the original design except for shrinking it.

    The HAMR-JR has a body length of 2.25cm and weighs just 0.3 grams. Its top speed of 14 body links per second also means it’s the one of the quickest micro-bots around.

    According to Robert Wood, co-author of the paper relating to the HAMR-JR, the successful scale down of the coin sized robot proves that researchers now have a good understanding on the process that goes into scaling down complex robot designs.

    Take a look at what went into the making of the HAMR-JR below:

    Image: Kaushik Jayaram/Harvard SEAS

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