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Nimble mini-robots require just 7.01 mm³ of working space

Because of their mobility, delta robots are very popular and commonplace in industrial settings. A new miniature version is creating a huge number of new possibilities for use.

16 Mar. 2018
Tim Stockschläger
Nimble mini-robots require just 7.01 mm³ of working space (Photo: Wyss Institute)

Researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute developed the miniscule industrial robot known as milliDelta . Just barely 15 × 15 × 20 mm in size, it weighs only 0.43 g. However, it can carry three times its own weight . It is incredibly fast in relation to its dimensions: It can move at up to 0.45 m/s. While larger delta robots are often used for pick-and-place tasks, the milliDelta does everything on a much smaller scale. Thanks to its astounding speed, the robot is well suited to assembling or modifying the smallest products by micrometers.

The milliDelta consists of three piezoelectrical actuators (arms), which can be controlled independently of one another. It was modeled after origami folding technology. Since 2011 the Wyss Institute team has been working with correspondingly flat pop-up MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) that “unfold” at their joints.