Microassembly Processes and Microassembled Devices: Which Comes First?
Dr. Bradley Nelson
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich
Institut für Robotik und Intelligente Systeme (IRIS)
Microassembly has been a topic of research for over a decade, but microassembly has yet to make a significant commercial impact. One reason for this is due to the chicken-and-egg nature of the problem. In general, microsystems designers do not consider microassembly as a design alternative in developing new devices, because flexible microassembly systems do not exist. Thus, there is no market push for microassembly systems, so commercially viable microassembly processes remain undeveloped, so microsystems designers do not consider microassembly, and so on. This talk will discuss efforts underway at the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich to develop microassembled microrobotic devices. The microassembled devices and the microassembly processes are being developed simultaneously in order to address this cycle of non-development. Vision and force controlled microassembly processes, microtooling, integration of permanent magnetic materials into microrobotics devices consisting of silicon and electroplated subcomponents, and wireless actuation and sensing techniques are being exploited to realize these autonomous sub-mm sized intelligent devices.
Brad Nelson is the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH-Zürich and is the director of IRIS. His primary research direction lies in extending robotics research into emerging areas of science and engineering. He received a B.S. (Mechanical Engineering) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1984, an M.S. (Mechanical Engineering) from the University of Minnesota in 1987, and the Ph.D. degree in Robotics (School of Computer Science) from Carnegie Mellon University in 1995. During these years he also worked as an engineer at Honeywell and Motorola, and served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa. In 1995 he became Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota in 1998, and Professor at ETH in 2002. He has been awarded a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship and is a recipient of the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, the McKnight Presidential Fellows Award, and the Bronze Tablet. He was elected as a Robotics and Automation Society Distinguished Lecturer in 2003 and received the Best Conference Paper Award at the IEEE 2004 International Conference on Robotics and Automation. He was named to the 2005 "Scientific American 50," Scientific American magazine's annual list recognizing outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology from the past year. Professor Nelson serves on or has been a member of the editorial boards of the IEEE Transaction on Robotics, the Journal of Micromechatronics, the Journal of Optomechatronics, and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine. He has chaired several international workshops and conferences. He is currently the head of the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering (D-MAVT).Back to the session details.