There is a new machine in the block that is so small that you could just look at it. Developed by engineers from Harvard University, Millidelta looks a lot like other Delta robots, industrial machines used for food packaging or welding thanks to its exceptional speed and precision. Except that the Millidelta is small. Really small When fully deployed, the miniature robot is barely higher than a penny.
Such small stature limits the way Millidelta can be used in the real world. You can not, for example, place chocolate bonbons in your containers as the first Delta robots were designed to do. But, in a way, the size of the Millidelta is a great advantage and its ability to bend in the form of origami makes it ideal to conserve space.
"Smaller robots and devices in general have generally greater mechanical bandwidth, which means they can perform trajectories at higher speeds and accelerations compared to larger robots," said Robert Wood, a Harvard engineer. whose team designed the Millidelta, to Digital Trends.
The Millidelta is not the first miniature form of the popular Delta design. In fact, the robots have been reducing the design for years in an effort to adapt the devices to small work spaces, but have had difficulty producing them to millimeter scale using conventional manufacturing methods.
In a paper recently published in the journal Science Robotics, Wood and his team demonstrate how their manufacturing technique allows them to develop Millidelta on such a small scale. Known as emerging microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), the manufacturing technique can create a complex structure from flat pieces of material. Researchers have previously used the technique to develop a small flying machine called Robobee.
The advantage of Millidelta's speed is the most tempting result of the recent study, according to the team that developed the robot.
"The most exciting thing" The result for us is the large bandwidth that Millidelta can achieve, "said Hayley McClintock, a Harvard researcher who helped design the device." Delta robots currently available can only operate a few hertz, so that our robot can draw circles at frequencies up to 75 Hz is quite impressive. "
Outside the lab, the Millidelta can find several uses, from small-scale assembly to microsurgery, what Wood said , "would benefit from precise and high-speed movement."
"I think the next step is to reduce one or two applications and refine what the required specifications are," he added. "Once we have that, it would be pretty simple modify the design and integrate it with the rest of the system components, for example, power and control electronics. "