The HAMR-JR microrobot is a half-scale version of the cockroach-inspired Harvard Ambulatory Microrobot (HAMR). About the size of a penny, HAMR-JR can perform almost all of the feats of its larger-scale predecessor, making it one of the most dexterous microrobots to date.

This research was focused on whether or not the pop-up manufacturing process used to build previous versions of HAMR and other microbots, including the RoboBee, could be used to build robots at multiple scales from tiny surgical bots to large-scale industrial robots.

PC-MEMS (printed circuit microelectromechanical systems) is a fabrication process in which the robot’s components are etched into a 2D sheet and then popped out in its 3D structure. To build HAMR-JR, the researchers simply shrunk the 2D sheet design of the robot — along with the actuators and onboard circuitry — to recreate a smaller robot with all the same functionalities.

HAMR-JR measures 2.25 centimeters in body length and weighs about 0.3 gram, a fraction of the weight of a penny. It can run about 14 body lengths per second, making it one of the smallest and fastest microrobots.

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