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MIniature Co-operative RObots advancing towards the Nano-range

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Special coils revolutionise wireless power transmission

A new method of inductive energy transfer developed at a leading research institute in Germany has made it possible to power a cluster of miniature robots remotely.

Digital Economy

The aim of the MICRON project was to design and deploy a group of robots capable of performing tasks on the micro- and even nanometre scale. Given their small size, a wireless solution was the only way to deliver energy to the robots. The task was assigned to scientists with the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) in Germany. It quickly became apparent that the conventional method of inductive power transmission was not compatible with MICRON's space constraints. This led to the innovation of a technique known as the parallel coil method. The success of this new development is down to the fact that the power floor is capable of transmitting the required 330 milliwatts to the special unit integrated in the robot – without overheating. Another advantage of the unique combination of inductive coils was that the intensity of the electromagnetic field decreased dramatically with distance from the power floor. This ensured that interference with other nearby electronic devices was not an issue. Following successful trials, IBMT applied for patent protection for its parallel coil method. Dissemination of these findings has also been achieved via relevant conferences and scientific journals. In addition to powering the MICRON robots, it should be noted that the wireless energy transfer system is also well suited to a number of medical and industrial applications.

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Scientific advances
Digital Economy

4 September 2018