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Mobile Microrobot Characterization through Performance-Based Competitions



Jason J. Gorman, Craig D. McGray, Richard A. Allen


Recent advances in the design and fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have enabled the development of mobile microrobots that can autonomously navigate and manipulate in controlled environments. It is expected that this technology will be critical in applications as varied as intelligent sensor networks, in vivo medical diagnosis and treatment, and adaptive microelectronics. However, many challenges remain, particularly with respect to locomotion, power storage, embedded intelligence, and motion measurement. As a result, NIST has organized performance-based competitions for mobile microrobots that are designed to: 1) motivate researchers to accelerate microrobot development, 2) reveal the most pressing technical challenges, and 3) evaluate the most successful methods for locomotion and manipulation at the microscale (e.g., actuation techniques for crawling). This paper will discuss the goals and structure of the competition, results from past competitions, and plans to make performance characterization methods an integral component of future competitions.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems (PerMIS) 2009
Conference Dates
September 21-23, 2009
Conference Location
Gaithersburg, MD


Microrobotics, microrobots, robot competition, performance characterization


Gorman, J. , McGray, C. and Allen, R. (2009), Mobile Microrobot Characterization through Performance-Based Competitions, Proceedings of the Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems (PerMIS) 2009, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed March 4, 2024)
Created November 19, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017