How small can it go? New Scale to develop world’s smallest commercial hexapod
New Scale Technologies is developing a clinically-compatible, 6-DOF, hand-held micromanipulator for hand tremor cancellation in microsurgical systems.
(IMAGE: New Scale Technologies has been awarded an SBIR grant from NIH to develop a miniature commercial hexapod; the micropositioner has applications in retinal microsurgery, robotic end-of-arm tooling, MEMS and photonics micro-manufacturing, and fiber positioning and alignment. Courtesy New Scale Technologies.)
Under an SBIR Phase 1 grant from NIH, New Scale Technologies (Victor, NY) is developing a clinically-compatible, six-degree-of-freedom (6-DOF) hand-held micromanipulator for hand tremor cancellation in microsurgical systems. Awarded by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Award Number R43EY026304), a prototype was less than 25 mm in diameter and was the first hexapod (or Gough-Stewart platform) small enough for use in a hand-held instrument. The prototype micromanipulator was developed at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with New Scale contributions.
New Scale is using the SBIR grant to develop an improved hexapod system with the same small size as the prototype, preparing the way for a clinically-compatible product ready for commercialization. Specific aims include improved dynamic performance, higher precision, and integration of a microcontroller with local feedback and motion control. Additionally, the company will evaluate the feasibility of a future wireless instrument with MEMS inertial sensors, on-board batteries, and wireless communication.
The hexapod system incorporates six piezoelectric Squiggle micro motors, miniature bearing assemblies, motor mounts, flexures, spring preloads, and miniature drive electronics. Potential applications include use as a robotic end-effector for testing and manufacture of MEMS and photonics accessories, and positioning and alignment of collimated fibers or assemblies.
Source: New Scale Technologies