M. Sitti; "Micro- and Nanoscale Robotics", June 1, 2006, 10:40, L056
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  • M. Sitti; "Micro- and Nanoscale Robotics", June 1, 2006, 10:40, L056

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Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences

Micro- and Nanoscale Robotics

Metin Sitti
NanoRobotics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

For the miniaturization of devices and machines down to nanometer sizes, micro/nanorobotic approach enabling precision manipulation, manufacturing, and interaction at the micro- and nanoscales is indispensable.  Micro/Nanorobotics as an emerging robotics field is based on the micro/nanoscale physics, fabrication, sensing, actuation, system integration, and control taking the scaling effects into consideration.  Micro/Nanorobotics encompasses: (i) programmable assembly of micro/nanoscale components; (ii) design and fabrication of micro/nanorobots with overall dimensions at the millimeter and micrometer ranges and made of micro/nanoscopic components; and (iii) programming and coordination of large numbers of micro/nanorobots. This presentation will focus on current micro/nanorobotics research activities at the NanoRobotics Laboratory.

As the first focus area, precision micro/nanomanipulation systems using Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) or other nanoprobes will be introduced.  Here, AFM probes are utilized as a pushing, pulling, cutting, and indenting type of nanomanipulator, and also as a three-dimensional (3-D) topography and force sensor.  As the first application, using an AFM probe and a teleoperated human-machine interface, fine gold particles down to 14nm radius are positioned in two-dimension by mechanical pushing for developing micro/nanoassembly technology, and teleoperated touch feedback from the surfaces at the nanoscale is realized.  Next, liquid polymers are pulled and solidified precisely by nanoprobes to manufacture customized 3-D polymer micro/nanofibers.  As the second focus area, biologically inspired micro/nanoscale robots and materials will be reported. Design methodology, analysis, and fabrication of biomimetic fibrillar adhesives inspired by geckos will be explained.  Geckos have unique dry adhesive fibers in their feet to climb any surface with a very high maneuverability.  Discovering the principles of gecko adhesion recently, synthetic polymer micro/nanofibers are fabricated using micro/nanomolding and optical lithography techniques.  The results of current prototype adhesive fibers and miniature climbing robots inspired by geckos are reported. Finally, miniaturization issues of biologically inspired micro/nanorobots will be discussed.  As current miniature robotics activities, biomedical swimming and endoscopic capsule robots and water strider robots walking on water are explained briefly, and challenging issues are addressed.  These miniature robots could revolutionize health-care, environmental monitoring, manufacturing, and space exploration applications in the future.


Metin Sitti received the BSc and MSc degrees in electrical and electronics engineering from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 1992 and 1994, respectively, and the PhD degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, in 1999.  He was a research scientist and lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California at Berkeley during 1999-2002, working in micromechanical flying insects and biomimetic gecko adhesives projects, and teaching the graduate level novel Micro/Nano-Robotics course.  He is currently an assistant professor and the director of the NanoRobotics Laboratory in Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Institute at the Carnegie Mellon University.  His research interests include micro/nanorobotics, micro/nanomanufacturing, MEMS/NEMS, and biomedical micro/nanotechnology.  He received the NSF CAREER award in 2005 for his nanorobotics related research and teaching activities, and the Struminger award for his teaching activities at CMU.  He also received the best paper award in the IEEE Robotics and Biomimetics Conference (2004), the best paper award in the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (1998), and the best video award (2002) in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Conference.  He is the chair of the IEEE Nanotechnology Council, Nanorobotics and Nanomanufacturing Technical Committee and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, Rapid Prototyping in Robotics and Automation Technical Committee.  He is an editorial board member of Journal of Micromechatronics, Journal of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and International Journal of Control, Automation, and Systems.

June 1, 2006, 10:40, FENS L056