Zero Insertion Force MEMS Socket for Microrobotics Assembly

To help resolve the control and power challenges present in developing micro robots, the research focus of this project is the design and development of a ZIF (zero insertion force) MEMS socket. The ultimate goal is to achieve electrical connection between a 65nm single-chip mote and a multi-legged SOI micro robot. As proof of concept, the most recent socket prototype has demonstrated successful connection to a MEMS motor chiplet, which is orthogonal to the socket. Both chiplets were fabricated using a two-mask SOI (silicon- on- insulator) process. The socket uses probes to precisely and reliably connect to pads on the motor chiplet. Once connected, the MEMS motor can be run while inserted in the socket, standing up right. Future work will allow MEMS structures to easily probe the pads of CMOS chips, strongly connecting the two technologies both electrically and mechanically (the connection is designed to withstand 1000s of g’s of vibration). The ZIF socket will provide a smooth and simple approach to the integration of CMOS chips with MEMS structures.


  • Hani Gomez
  • Daniel Contreras
  • Joseph Greenspun


  • Kristofer S.J. Pister