Research Papers

Design and Development of a Dual-Axis Force Sensing MEMS Microgripper

[+] Author and Article Information
Sijie Yang

Department of Electromechanical Engineering,
Faculty of Science and Technology,
University of Macau,
Avenida da Universidade,
Taipa, Macau, China
e-mail: mb55447@umac.mo

Qingsong Xu

Department of Electromechanical Engineering,
Faculty of Science and Technology,
University of Macau,
Avenida da Universidade,
Taipa, Macau, China
e-mail: qsxu@umac.mo

Zhijie Nan

Department of Electromechanical Engineering,
Faculty of Science and Technology,
University of Macau,
Avenida da Universidade,
Taipa, Macau, China
e-mail: mb65517@umac.mo

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received April 10, 2017; final manuscript received September 14, 2017; published online October 9, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Larry L Howell.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 9(6), 061011 (Oct 09, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: JMR-17-1098; doi: 10.1115/1.4038010 History: Received April 10, 2017; Revised September 14, 2017

This paper presents the design, simulation, fabrication, and testing processes of a new microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) microgripper, which integrates an electrostatic actuator and a capacitive force sensor. One advantage of the presented gripper is that the gripping force and interaction force in two orthogonal directions can be, respectively, detected by a single force sensor. The whole gripper structure consists of the left actuating part and right sensing part. It owns a simple structure and compact footprint. The actuator and sensor are fixed and linearly guided by four leaf flexures, respectively. The left arm of the gripper is driven through a lever amplification mechanism. By this structure, the displacement from the electrostatic actuator is transmitted and enlarged at the gripper tip. The right arm of the gripper is designed to detect the gripping and interaction forces using a capacitive sensor. The MEMS gripper is manufactured by SOIMUMPs process. The performance of the designed gripper is verified by conducting finite element analysis (FEA) simulation and experimental studies. Moreover, the demonstration of biocellulose gripping confirms the feasibility of the developed gripper device.

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Fig. 1

Schematic diagram of the MEMS microgripper

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Fig. 2

Fundamental principle of lateral type of electrostatic comb-teeth actuator

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Fig. 3

Schematic diagram of capacitive sensor with read-out circuit

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Fig. 4

Simulation result of the gripper with 150 μN applied at the actuating end of the movable plate

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Fig. 5

Simulation result of cross-axis sensitivity of the force sensor for gripping (Fd) and interaction (Fc) force sensing

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Fig. 6

FEA simulation results of modal analysis: (a) first resonant mode and (b) second resonant mode

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Fig. 7

SOI fabrication process of the microgripper

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Fig. 8

(a) Fabricated gripper prototype with microscope images of gripper parts including, (b) electrostatic actuator connected with folded leaf flexure, (c) gripper tips, and (d) capacitive sensor

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Fig. 9

Experimental setup for gripping force sensing testing

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Fig. 10

Gripping force calibration result

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Fig. 11

Experimental setup for interaction force sensing testing

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Fig. 12

Interaction force calibration result

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Fig. 13

Relationship between input voltage and gripping displacement

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Fig. 14

Experimental result of relationship between gripping force and driving voltage for grasping a biocellulose material

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Fig. 15

Snapshots of grasping a biocellulose material of 96 μm diameter: (a) initial state, (b) grasping, (c) grasped, and (d) released



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