The Birth Of MEMS

The Birth Of MEMS

The era of microelectromechanical systems is about to begin. Or the beginnings of MEMS. This new technology involves the fabrication of micro-scale electromechanical devices or instruments by integrating mechanical elements, sensors, actuators and electronic components onto a common silicon substrate through a micro-fabrication process. In other words, making small machines in a process similar to that used to make conventional silicon-based integrated circuits or microchips. The MEMS-based devices or types of devices we have dreamed up are diverse and far-reaching, many of which are already under development.

In the United States, a department of the Pentagon is trying to develop an insect-based robot.

 In other words, the synthesis of MEMS with real living insects. For example, a micro transmitter “attached” to a small insect is sent to a hostile place to speak of an “insect”. Puns…

In Minority Report, a small army of “spider robots” goes in search of the main character (Tom Cruise). In fact, a joint project is currently underway between BAE Systems in the UK and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in the US which uses MEMS and costs $37 million. This Spider-Bot should be ready for the main project in 6-11 months. I think the key word here is “anticipation”, but it’s definitely confusing.

The ultimate goal is to create a spider that not only can crawl like a spider, but also climb walls and fly like an insect. Micro robots Spider fly… A combination of various MEMS and microprocessors/memory chips allow telemetry to capture audio and visual data before sending it to a remote system. Transporting these creatures near the target area is done by a larger robot, which transports them there and frees or releases them. This micro spider/flybot is powered by small batteries and/or solar cells.

Other simple and practical devices based on MEMS are also under development (eg about 8 mm long, 4 mm wide, 2 mm thick (overall dimensions)). The first half or section measures 4mm x 4mm and consists of a micro solar cell for the power supply, an electric motor, a microcontroller, a hydraulic actuator and a set of wheels. 6 minutes. The other half is thin armor, 3mm long but only a fraction of a millimeter thick and 1mm in diameter attached to a locking or pivot pin at the end.

On its 6 wheels it can move over a given distance.

When the hydraulic actuator is actuated it either pumps fluid or comes with a locking/pivot pin to “fix” it to a surface, causing the entire unit to rotate 360 ​​degrees (via a stored program). The actuator then stops and the spool continue straight. If the “working tip” of this device has a kind of “pen” or “knife” on the end, you can draw or scratch small circles!

A variant of this device is the permanent attachment of the end of the spigot to the surface, which can act as a simple shutter or valve. In 2007, Sandia National Laboratories in the United States created the smallest fully autonomous robot in the world. . It uses the latest MEMS technology and measures approximately 1 cubic centimeter! The ship, which moves on two rails, looks like a small tank (without a turret) and has a central processor with 8K ROM (read only memory), a miniature video camera, a microphone, a temperature sensor and a chemical microsensor.

It is powered by three small watch batteries and can move 50 centimeters per minute.

This is important given the relatively high load. The examples just given are just a few of the many applications/devices made possible by MEMS and that’s it for now! Although it is at the prototype or experimental stage, it already exists. Very near future; the second decade of the third millennium will see the proliferation of MEMS devices and MEMS-based devices or systems that will impact everything from aeronautical and security issues to biotechnology and communications.

Pooja Saxena