Tuesday, March 11, 2008

US Patent 7341222 - Microfabricated insect sensor swarms


This is a fairly interesting patent from the U.S. Department of Energy that teaches a method for making microscale winged flying machines. A swarm of such machines are taught to be useful in remote sensing applications and are taught to be powered by solar or rf energy. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of making a micro-unmanned vehicle comprising: using Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems technology; and forming on a substrate at least a pair of wings with leading wing beams and trailing wing beams, at least two actuators, a leading actuator beam pivotably coupled to said leading wing beams, a trailing actuator beam pivotably coupled to said trailing wing beams, a vehicle body having a plurality of fulcrums pivotally securing said leading wing beams, said trailing wing beams, said leading actuator beam and said trailing actuator beam and having at least one anisotropically etched recess to accommodate a lever-fulcrum motion of said coupled beams, and a power source.