goal of the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab is to harness
of animal manipulation, locomotion, sensing, actuation,
and control strategies to radically improve millirobot
Research in the lab ranges from fundamental
understanding of mechanical
principles to novel fabrication techniques to system
millirobots. The lab works closely with biologists to
of function which can be tested on engineered and
The lab's current research is centered on all-terrain
nanostructured adhesives and bioinspired flight.
Cooperative Control for Window Traversal with an Ornithopter MAV
cooperative target-seeking between a 13 gram ornithopter (H2Bird),
and a lightweight ground station.
The ground station provides
heading estimates to the ornithopter using a real-time
motion tracking algorithm.
Julian et al. Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS2013).
Controllable Particle Adhesion (Feb. 2013)
Controllable adhesion to glass spheres with a magnetically actuated
synthetic gecko adhesive is demonstrated. Results show sphere
pull-off forces can be increased 10-fold by changing the ridge
orientation via the external magnetic field, and that the effective
elastic modulus can be changed from 65 kPa to 1.5 MPa.
Gillies et al.
Advanced Functional Materials, 2013
A Sprawl Tuned Autonomous Robot
This robot has a variable leg
sprawl angle in the transverse plane to adapt its stiffness,
height, and leg-to-surface contact angle.
Contact angle and normal contact forces are
substantially reduced when the sprawl angle is low, and the
velocity increases over smooth surfaces, with stable running at
all velocities up to 5.2 m/s.
Zarrouk et al. to appear ICRA 2013.
Animal-inspired Design and Aerodynamic Stabilization of a Hexapedal Millirobot
The VelociRoACH is a 10 cm long, 30 gram
hexapedal millirobot capable of running at 2.7 m/s, making
it the fastest legged robot built to date, relative to scale.
Dynamic similarity technique combined with aerodynamic damping
provides stability at high speeds.
D. Haldane et al. IEEE ICRA May 2013.
Dynamic Climbing of Smooth
2012) Dynamic climbing
of near-vertical surfaces introduces reaction
forces which require greater normal adhesion to
prevent falling. Dynamic
climbing on a 30 degree slope succeeds at 12 Hz
leg rate, but only 4 Hz on a 70 degree
Gillies, Fearing IROS Oct 2012
Running Animals and Robots (June
Cockroaches and geckos
can escape when running by swinging under a
ledge in a pendulum like motion. The DASH
robot, with a special foot attachment, can also
swing in a similar manner.
Mongeau et. al PLoS June 2012
with Tail (May 2012) The 100-mm scale
OctoRoACH robot can turn using differential drive
at 100 degrees per
second, or with a dynamic tail with peak turn
rates of 400 degrees per
Pullin et al. ICRA
Ornithopter for Locomotion Transitioning (Sept. 2011) Bolt is a 13 gram
ornithopter with legs for mixed-mode locomotion.
In running modes,
wings provide passive stability. With wing
assisted running, BOLT can
run at 2.5 m/sec while maintaining ground contact.
Bioinspired sensors and control strategies are being
coordinated flight of multiple ornithopters.
Prototyping of Meso-
and Milli- Robots
Using laser cutting of composite materials, we
rapidly prototype small
robots using flexure technology. Example structures
with dozens of
joints have been constructed.
(Shown is autonomous miniRoACH from 2008.)
We are developing a low cost (<$1000))
desktop factory which will
allow users to build millirobots from a kit