Piezoelectric Actuator with embedded strain sensors for micro robotic applications
The fabrication of sensors for microrobots is still a challenge because of small scale and the need of external electronic hardware. A solution is presented in this research where a PZT actuator is fabricated with two strain strips running sideways using laminate-based methods and cutting each layer using a high frequency UV laser. As the strain strips are fabricated on the same PZT layer so there is minimal need of manual assembly. Also, these sensors don’t require any kind of signal conditioning so there is no need of external electronics. The sensor is tested under different voltages to the actuator ranging from 0-200V and frequencies upto 650 Hz. Multiple actuators are tested to verify if they behave the same under the same conditions and the results were very promising. The sensor is also tested to detect any perturbation when a wing attached to it is poked and the results are verified by tracking the wing stroke angle using a high- speed camera. Another test was done by dipping a wing flapping at 100Hz in water and then taking the sensor measurements. It was verified that the sensor is able to detect any change in the environment or in the structure attached to it. With some more work, this actuator with embedded sensors would serve a long way in different micro robotic applications.