Research into the use of MEMS actuators with malleable robots has moved along at a steady pace this quarter. Initial investigations started with an in depth look at straight line linkage systems that could be incorporated into the design.The straight line constraint is important due to the fact that the MEMS actuator cannot support out of plane forces. The most promising of these systems was the Peaucillier Lipkin linkage, however, due to its complicated design it could not be implemented with paper. At this point it was back to the drawing board to rethink the linkage design. After simplifying the matter down to the bare necessities for what the system required, a simple four bar linkage was implemented in a paper form factor. The system failed to work as designed however due undesirable torques about the support hinges. Again it was necessary to research another linkage implementation which lead to the discovery of Hoeken’s Linkage. This system made up for the inadequacies of the previous linkages and satisfied the straight line constraint and was successfully created using paper

Throughout the course of the quarter the need for fold stiffness characterization became more and more prevalent. As a result, a rig was designed in order to perform the force characterization. Initial tests showed the need for automation as any human contact resulted in distorted readings.

Looking forward

Future research and investigation with be focused on testing Hoeken’s linkage and generating a full force characterization of the system. This will require the full automation of the force rig in order to generate repeatable results at the milligram scale. There after design and constraints can be generated in order to be sent off for fabrication.

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