MEMS Filament Motors

Pushup, walking, jumping, and flying microrobots have been demonstrated. Other previous work has demonstrated microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) capable of creating silicon silk, as well as microrobots capable of assembling millimeter scale carbon fibers. However, microrobots capable of manipulating very small diameter filaments, fibers, and wires initially external to themselves is still an area of open research. We have successfully demonstrated a silicon-on- insulator (SOI) MEMS device pushing a 7 um diameter carbon filament through an adjustable width channel at a speed of 0.2 mm/s. Future applications include a microrobotic spider, an array of individually controllable neural probe implanters, a wound or fabric stitching microrobot, plug-and- play linear servos for paper robots, etc.


  • Craig B. Schindler
  • Daniel S. Contreras
  • Joseph T. Greenspun


  • Kristofer S.J. Pister