A 3.4-Millimeter Flea-sized Robot with Powerful Locomotion

Ruide Yun
PhD student
Beihang University, China

Fleas in nature generally have potent muscles for jumping and crawling abilities to overcome obstacles in complex environments, while it is challenging for flea-sized robots to have powerful actuators due to the size effect. This work presents a novel high-voltage pulsed actuator for a flea-sized robot (3.4mm-in-length) to achieve powerful jumping and fast crawling locomotion. The working principle of the actuator is based on the electric arcing phenomenon between two electrodes under high-voltage pulses. The jumping height and length of the 3.4mm flea-sized robot can be up to 46 and 87 times of body lengths, respectively, and the crawling speed can be over 46 body lengths per second on a flat surface. With its tiny size and high jumping performance, the flea-sized robot can jump over obstacles and then crawl through narrow gaps. This work presents the world’s first robot with the same body size and locomotor performance as fleas in nature, significantly expanding the use scenario of microrobots.