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ERIC Number: EJ1058139
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-2153-2516
An REU Experience with Micro Assembly Workcell Research
Stapleton, William; Asiabanpour, Bahram; Jimenez, Jesus; Um, Dugan
American Journal of Engineering Education, v1 n1 p35-42 2010
Under an NSF REU center grant REU-0755355 entitled "Micro/Nano Assembly Workcell Via Micro Visual Sensing and Haptic Feedback", Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Texas State University-San Marcos collaboratively hosted two groups of 10 students from different backgrounds for 10 weeks each in Summer 2008 and 2009 respectively. The research effort involved is part of an ongoing research program developing novel methods for making automated micromanipulation systems. The twenty students and two teachers were divided into four teams developing interrelated aspects of the project. The first team developed the micro-scale parts, such as gears, for assembly. This required the team to develop techniques for etch and release of three dimensional parts from a silicon substrate. The second team developed the microscopic vision system used for locating and identifying parts on a silicon wafer. The vision system is used to determine the position on the wafer of the parts, their diameter (one of several standard parts), and, utilizing a novel technique developed by the team, the thickness of the parts. The third team developed a robotic platform able to locate any portion of a wafer for manipulation within a three-dimensional space with 10┬Ám accuracy. This mechanism is used to first bring any desired portion of the wafer to the vision system for analysis and also to bring a manipulator to "pick and place" parts using the vision system for feedback. The fourth group developed the micro-manipulator in the form of a "gripper" powered by electro-active polymer. This gripper was capable of accurately and repeatably gripping, lifting, moving, placing, and releasing parts at any point within the workspace. Collectively, the REU project successfully produced a prototype system advancing the state-of-art for an important are of micro-manufacturing while offering a stimulating experience for undergraduate students. Assessment of the student experience showed an increase in the likelihood for these students to pursue engineering careers and to encourage their peers to consider STEM careers.
Clute Institute. 6901 South Pierce Street Suite 239, Littleton, CO 80128. Tel: 303-904-4750; Fax: 303-978-0413; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: REU-0755355