IEEE ICMA 2015 Conference

Plenary Talk 3

Small-Scale Mobile Robotics

Metin Sitti
Director, Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart
Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Institute,
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
E-mail: sitti@is.mpg.de

Small-scale mobile robots have the unique capability of accessing to small spaces and scales directly. Due to their small size and small-scale physics and dynamics, they could be agile and portable, and could be inexpensive and in large numbers if they are mass-produced. Miniature robots would have high impact applications in health-care, bioengineering, mobile sensor networks, desktop micro-manufacturing, and inspection. In this talk, design, fabrication, and control of different size scale miniature mobile robots leveraging advanced and soft materials are presented. First, as milli/centimeter scale mobile robots, novel climbing, flying, jumping-gliding, and water-walking robots inspired by insects, bats, and lizards are presented. Advanced soft gecko-inspired micro-fiber adhesives are shown to enable many new miniature robot and robotic manipulation applications. Pill-size untethered soft capsule robots are proposed to enable minimally invasive medical diagnosis and therapeutic operations inside stomach. Next, going down to sub-millimeter size mobile robots, the grand challenge is the limitation on scaling down on-board actuators and power sources. Two alternative approaches are proposed to solve this challenge. First, biological cells, e.g. bacteria, attached to the surface of a micro-robot are used as on-board micro-actuators and micro-sensors using the chemical energy. Bacteria-propelled randomly swimming micro-robots are steered using chemical and pH gradients in the environment and remote magnetic fields. As the second approach, external actuation of untethered magnetic micro-robots using remote magnetic fields in enclosed spaces is demonstrated. New magnetic micro-robot locomotion principles based on rotational stick-slip and rolling dynamics are proposed. Novel magnetic composite materials are used to address and control teams of micro-robots. Such untethered micro-robot teams are demonstrated to control microfluidic flow locally, trap live cells and transport them, and manipulate micro-gels with embedded cells with or without contact inside microfluidic channels for tissue engineering applications.

Dr. 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 at UC Berkeley during 1999-2002. He is currently a director in Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and a professor in Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His research interests include small-scale physical intelligence, mobile micro-robots, bio-inspired milli-robots, soft robots, novel micro/nano-materials, and micro/nano-manipulation. He has published peer-reviewed 135 journal and 126 conference papers (cited 9,013 times with h-index of 49 in Google Scholar), has 6 issued and 7 pending patents, has given 125 invited talks in universities, conferences, and industry, has raised around $14M research funding from NSF, NASA, NIH, industry, and DoD, has founded a start-up company to commercialize novel gecko-inspired adhesives, and has trained 34 PhD students and 17 post-doctoral researchers at CMU who are now professors in universities such as UIUC, Univ. of Toronto, WPI, Virgina Tech, etc., post-docs in MIT and Harvard, and senior researchers in industry such as BostonDynamics, Apple, Intel, etc. He is an IEEE Fellow. He received the IBM Smarter Planet Award in 2012, the SPIE Nanoengineering Pioneer Award in 2011, and NSF CAREER Award in 2005. He received the IEEE/ASME Best Mechatronics Paper Award in 2014, the Best Poster Award in the Adhesion Conference in 2014, the Best Paper Award in the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in 2009 and 1998, the first prize in the World RoboCup Micro-Robotics Competition in 2012 and 2013, the Best Biomimetics Paper Award in the IEEE Robotics and Biomimetics Conference in 2004, and the Best Video Award in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Conference in 2002. He is the editor-in-chief of Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics.

The Robotics Society of Japan The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers Japan Society for Precision Engineering The Society of Instrument and Control Engineers Harbin Engineering University University of Electro-Communications University of Electronic Science and Technology of China Changchun University of Science and Technology