Microsystem Technologies

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 943–950 | Cite as

Piezoelectric-driven miniature wheeled robot based on flexible transmission mechanisms

  • Sui Zhou
  • Weiping ZhangEmail author
  • Yang Zou
  • Bin Ou
  • Zhiyu Xun
Technical Paper


A 935 mg weight coin-size piezoelectric-driven wheeled robot with a flexible body-actuator-transmission integrated structure is presented in this paper. The robot is monolithic designed and fabricated via planar graphic manufacturing and lamination methods. The flexible four-bar mechanism and the flexible pawl-ratchet mechanism based on film hinge convert the slight vibration of the dual-drive PZT actuator into a unidirectional rotation of wheels, thereby achieving straight or curved motion. The stress and response of the flexible pawl-ratchet mechanism are analyzed by mechanical model and FEM simulation. We experimentally characterized the resonant characteristics of the actuator, measured the velocity of the miniature wheeled robot when it is on or off the ground. Experiments suggest that the prototype of the robot can achieve a linear speed for 330 mm/s, a turning radius for about 200 mm, and a climbing angle for 7.5°.



This research is supported by the Supporting Foundation of the Ministry of Education (6141A02022607), the New Century Excellent Talents Support Program from the Ministry of Education of China (NCET-10-0583), the Pre-research Fund (9140A26020 313JW03371, 9140A26020414JW03412) the Pre-research Project(LZY2016215, 010701) and Professional technical service platform of Shanghai (16DZ2290103).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (WMV 7885 kb)


  1. Avadhanula S, Fearing R S (2005) Flexure design rules for carbon fiber microrobotic mechanisms. In: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pp 1579–1584Google Scholar
  2. Hida H, Morita Y, Kurokawa F et al (2016) Simple millimeter-scale robot using Pb (Zr, Ti) piezoelectric thin film actuator on titanium substrate. Microsyst Technol 22:1429–1436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Jing W, Cappelleri D (2014) A magnetic microrobot with in situ forcesensing capabilities. Robotics 3:106–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ming A, Park S, Nagata Y, et al (2009) Development of underwater robots using piezoelectric fiber composite. In: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pp 3821–3826Google Scholar
  5. Miyashita S, Guitron S, Ludersdorfer M, et al (2015) An untethered miniature origami robot that self-folds, walks, swims, and degrades. In: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pp 1490–1496Google Scholar
  6. Moon YM, Trease BP, Kota S (2002) Design of large-displacement compliant joints. In: ASME Int Design Engineering Technical Conf and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE), pp 65–76Google Scholar
  7. Pham PH, Dang LB, Vu HN (2010) Micro robot system with moving micro-car driven by electrostatic comb-drive actuators. Microsyst Technol 16:505–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Shibata M, Sakagami N (2015) Fabrication of a fish-like underwater robot with flexible plastic film body. Adv Robot 29:103–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Song YS, Sitti M (2007) Surface-tension-driven biologically inspired water strider robots: theory and experiments. IEEE T Robot 23:578–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Sreetharan PS, Whitney JP, Strauss MD et al (2012) Monolithic fabrication of millimeter-scale machines. J Micromech Microeng 22:055027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Wang H, Chen J, Lau HYK et al (2016) Motion planning based on learning from demonstration for multiple-segment flexible soft robots actuated by electroactive polymers. IEEE Robot Autom Lett 1:391–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Wood RJ, Avadhanula S, Sahai R et al (2008) Microrobot design using fiber reinforced composites. J Mech Des 130:052304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Yeh R, Kruglick EJ, Pister KSJ (1996) Surface-micromachined components for articulated microrobots. J Microelectro Mech Syst 5:10–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Zheng T, Yang Y, Branson D T, et al (2014) Control design of shape memory alloy based multi-arm continuum robot inspired by octopus. In: IEEE International Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications (ICIEA) 1108–1113Google Scholar
  15. Zou Y, Zhang W, Zhang Z (2016) Liftoff of an electro-magnetically driven insect-inspired flapping-wing Robot. IEEE T Robot 32:1285–1289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Zou Y, Zhang W, Ke X, et al (2017) The design and micro-fabrication of a sub 100 mg insect-scale flapping-wing robot. Micro Nano Lett 12:297–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sui Zhou
    • 1
  • Weiping Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yang Zou
    • 1
  • Bin Ou
    • 1
  • Zhiyu Xun
    • 1
  1. 1.National Key Laboratory of Science and Technology on Nano/Micro Fabrication Technology, Research Institute of Mico/Nano Science and TechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations