Motors & Actuators RND

PCB Motors

Challenge: Engineering an Efficient Tiny Flat Motor

Our goal is to integrate these motors into tiny robots! This research started in 2018 while trying to build a simpler and smaller flying drone.

Printing the motor's windings directly on a robot's main circuit board will simplify the assembly, reduce manufacturing costs, and offer more repeatability. The motor's windings are also coreless, which is ideal for high-speed applications and will be enclosed in a thin solid-state board, eliminating any dust or debris.

This has turned into a six-year research journey, and we are now super close to releasing MotorCell to the maker community! Stay tuned!

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PCB Actuators

Challenge: Develop a Flat Magnetic Surface for Magnet Control

The first prototype was made in 2018. This showed magnets jumping and sliding on circuit board's flat surface. As time progressed, we continued testing other applications for PCB actuators, including flipdot pixels, linear actuators, sensors, speakers, and ferrofluid PCB electromagnets.

This tech has now evolved into the CoilCell and CoilCell+

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Flexible Actuators

Challenge: Using Magnetic fields to Actuate Flexible Circuits

The idea behind this project was to generate a small magnetic field using a planar coil printed on a flexible circuit. This generated a weak magnetic field that could interact with a stronger magnet, creating a flapping motion.

Over the years we keep improving this technology and integrated it into POV displays and also the CoilPad and FlatFlap, which is a ideal for creating artistic kinetic sculptures.

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Paper Actuators

Challenge: Using Magnetic fields to Actuate Paper

The goal of this project was to try and bring life to paper origami folds, by creating organic movements with hidden actuators.

It started by using conductive ink, to draw a spiral coil on a standard piece of paper. By applying a voltage, this coil managed to create a weak magnetic field that could be attracted to or repelled from magnets.

There are several limitations to this idea, such as the single-layer constraint and the high conductive resistance of the ink.

A better alternative to this concept was using a CoilPad, which can be sticked to the paper, creating the same effect but more effectively.

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