Reconfigurable multi-component sensors built from MEMS payloads carried by micro-robots

Jung H. Cho, Mayuresh Kothare, Mark G. Arnold

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


Field Programmable Robot Arrays (FPRAs) are micro-robots with onboard reconfigurable logic [14]. The primary goal of the FPRAs is to build digital-logic structures by physical motion as well as electronic reconfiguration (commonly used in prior programmable logic). We extend the application of FPRAs here by presenting a sensor-based architecture with the following components: a) Scratch-Drive-Actuator (SDA) micro-robots carrying MEMS sensor payload components and b) onboard programmable logic arrays of a new kind called Field Programmable One-Hot Arrays (FPOHAs) [14] which have two roles in the proposed system. First, each FPOHA is configured to act as a Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter (UART) so that each micro-robot may receive commands via a global communication channel to guide the robots' path towards their target locations [10]. Second, when each micro-robot reaches its target docking location, the associated FPOHA is reprogrammed to implement a control-systems algorithm that operates a payload component carried onboard the micro-robot. The docking locations are chosen so that the payload components make electrical, mechanical and/or fluidic connections, and thereby form a multi-component sensor. If a different sensor configuration is needed at a later time, the FPOHAs are reprogrammed back as UARTs, and the components may be rearranged to form a different sensor type. A variety of MEMS component types could be envisioned: micro-reactors, micro-catalysts, micro-pumps, etc. Each micro-robot would carry one such component. We assume MEMS-based micro-robots like those developed by Donald et al. [2], with the improvement of an additional stylus arm to control left and right rotation as well as using both arms to halt [5].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2010 IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium, SAS 2010 - Proceedings
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium, SAS 2010 - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: Feb 23 2010Feb 25 2010


Other2010 IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium, SAS 2010


  • MEMS
  • Reconfigurable micro-robot
  • SDA
  • Sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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