Design and fabrication of ultralight high-voltage power circuits for flapping-wing robotic insects


Michael Karpelson, Whitney P, Gu Wei, and Wood J. 3/6/2011. “Design and fabrication of ultralight high-voltage power circuits for flapping-wing robotic insects.” In 2011 Twenty-Sixth Annual IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition (APEC), Pp. 2070–2077. IEEE. Publisher's Version


Flapping-wing robotic insects are small, highly maneuverable flying robots inspired by biological insects and useful for a wide range of tasks, including exploration, environmental monitoring, search and rescue, and surveillance. Recently, robotic insects driven by piezoelectric actuators have achieved the important goal of taking off with external power; however, fully autonomous operation requires an ultralight power supply capable of generating high-voltage drive signals from low-voltage energy sources. This paper describes high-voltage switching circuit topologies and control methods suitable for driving piezoelectric actuators in flapping-wing robotic insects and discusses the physical implementation of these topologies, including the fabrication of custom magnetic components by laser micromachining and other weight minimization techniques. The performance of laser micromachined magnetics and custom-wound commercial magnetics is compared through the experimental realization of a tapped inductor boost converter capable of stepping up a 3.7V Li-poly cell input to 200V. The potential of laser micromachined magnetics is further shown by implementing a similar converter weighing 20mg (not including control functionality) and capable of up to 70mW output at 200V and up to 100mW at 100V.
Last updated on 04/27/2022