Micromechatronic Systems Laboratory (MSL)

We are developing microscale mechatronic systems with applications in microrobotics, microfluidics (see the AMFG page), distributed wireless sensing, energy systems sensing, and energy harvesting. We research end-to-end mezoscale solutions, using a mixture of technologies include microfabrication, and MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems), and VLSI CMOS fabrication, as well as additive manufacturing (3-D printing). The wide variety of fabrication techniques and methods allows us complete multi-disciplinary projects across all size-scales.


Development and control of mobile microrobotic systems is a central focus of our research at MSL. Microscale robotic systems have tremendous applications in areas such as biomedicine, surveillance, self-healing and self-organising structures, or microassembly. We define microrobotics as untethered mobile robotic devices that will fit within a 1 mm x 1 mm x 1mm volume (i.e. each dimension is most conveniently measured in micrometers). The microrobots we use in our lab are all are all less than 500 µm on each side. Our areas of research focus include development of novel microrobotic platforms and system, multi-microrobot control, microscale self-assembly, and flying (aerial) microrobots.

Stress-engineered MEMS Microrobots (MicroStressBots)

Our MicroStressBots are approximately 240 µm x 60 µm x 10 µm in size (i.e. they would comfortably rest on a slice of a human hair), and represent one of the smallest mobile robotic systems in the world. MicroStressBots are also currently the only microrobotic system that contain on-board memory and can be commanded to turn (as opposed top using a global field to position the robot). We use this unique microbotic platform to improve our understanding regarding design and control multi-microrobotic systems. We are currently developing novel algorithms enabling simultaneous control of large numbers of mobile microrobots.

Researchers: Vahid Foroutan, Ratul Majumdar



Microscale Aerial Robots (MicroFliers)

We are researching untethered aerial (flying) microrobots robots. We envision these devices to soar akin to controllable (steerable) specs of dust floating through the air. The applications include, among other, surveillance, distributed remote imaging, microassembly, and chemical analysis. We have demonstrated untethered microscale flight of 300 µm x 300 µm sized stress-engineered microfliers. We are currently exploring stability and control as well as biomimetic propulsion for microscale flying robots.

Researchers: Spencer Ward, Ameen Hussain, Vahid Foroutan, Ratul Majumdar



Novel MEMS Fabrication Techniques

We investigate novel microfabrication techniques that allow us to create increasingly complex microstructures. These techniques complement standard MEMS fabrication methods, and include stress-engineering MEMS, two-photon stereolithography, multi-wafer bonding, and printed microscale epoxy bonding. In addition, our we research ways of manipulating, aligning, and docking of microscale structures.

Researchers: Ratul Majumdar



Distributed Low-Power Wireless Sensing Networks

We are researching low-power wireless sensor networks, specifically focusing on energy systems sensing and biomedical applications. We are fabricating systems where each node of the network consumes so little power that it can potentially harvest enough energy for its operation from the surrounding environment. We are interested in solving challenges associated with reliable operation and co-location of such a low-power wireless network.

Researchers: Nick Iliev



Additional projects are described under the Air-Microfluidics Group.

This page is currently under construction.