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Computational Aspects of the Design of Micro Mechanical Hinged Structures - Towards Design Automation of MEMS (1990-1992)


Team Members

Karl F. Böhringer, Bruce R. Donald (Cornell)



We are interested in determining the shape of micro mechanical hinged structures, given specifications of their parameterized geometry and their functionality. Interactions between mechanism components are reflected in their configuration space (C-space). Each pair of components in contact is responsible for a surface region in C-space. Adjacency relationships of these regions define a C-space graph whose nodes represent contact states of the mechanism, and whose edges represent physically feasible state transitions. Parameterized components result in parameterized regions, and thus parameterized C-space graphs.

Functionality requirements may dictate properties of parts of the C-space graph, e.g. a certain start or an end state, or a certain path of states. We describe an algorithm that determines values of design parameters such that given functional requirements are satisfied.

Figure 1: Micromechanical hinged plate (top and side view). Picture thanks to Kris Pister.

Figure 2: Micromechanical hinged mechanism rotating out of the wafer plane (top and side view). Picture thanks to Kris Pister.


Figure 3: The figures show a parameterized C-space from two different points of view. The corresponding mechanism has two degrees of freedom (x and y axis), and one design parameter (z axis). Different horizontal slices of this graph may have very different shapes. This means that the corresponding designs exhibit different functionality.


Selected Publications

A complete list of our publications (many of them available online) can be found here.