by Mr. Austin Welborn
Leonardo da Vinci is known across the world for his creative genius. Among
his innovative technical drawings we find designs of mechanical wings, military
artillery, anatomical drawings, and much more. Many of today's technologies
are based on da Vinci's original concepts because they were so advanced
at the time, and even established many fundamentals of machine engineering.
People throughout history have honored his designs by building modern replicas
based on his technical drawings. What better way to honor da Vinci than by incorporating
some of his technical drawings into today's manufacturing technology?
This paper describes another way of building da Vinci machines, but with the
additional irony of doing so in the microscopic scale. Our MEMS (Micro Electro
Mechanical System) da Vinci chip boasts three familiar designs, imitating da
Vinci's mechanical concepts: mechanical lion, the Vitruvian man, and a
winged machine which is a combination of two of da Vinci's visions for
flying devices. In additional to the da Vinci chip, we have included several
different mechanisms that actuate each of the designs. Those mechanisms include
electrostatics, thermal actuators, and coulombic repulsion.
Leonardo da Vinci could have benefited from modern materials and manufacturing
techniques. Many of his machine visions (especially the flying ones) were doomed
from the outset because of material strength-to-density ratios and gravitational
dominance. We would like to think that da Vinci would approve of the efforts
to bring his designs into the microscale, where the surface to volume ratio
effects virtually eliminate gravitational effects, in favor of surface area
effects, such as the surface charge density effect we use to advantage in bringing
his microscale machines spontaneously to life.
When attempting to create some of Leonardo da Vinci's mechanical designs
and bringing in some of his iconic drawings into MEMS, one has to understand
how mechanical devices work. With this chip, we expected that the designs needed
to remain identical to da Vinci's designs but still incorporate structures
and components related to MEMS. In doing so, our chip was designed with three
different major components/phenomena. These include thermal actuators, the use
of coulombic repulsion between MEMS structures, and electrostatics.
The three designs include da Vinci's mechanical lion, the Vitruvian man,
and a combination of the flying mechanism and flapping wings.
Three MEMS Designs
The mechanical lion (figure 1), the Vitruvian man (figure 2), and a combination
of the flying mechanism (figure 3) and flapping wings (figure 4) were used to
create three very distinctive MEMS designs, whose artistry and complexity is
enabled by the most advanced surface micromachining process in the world, the
SUMMiT™ architecture from Sandia National Labs.
The MEMS mechanical lion (figure 5) uses a special 4-bar linkage made out of
a crank rocker and a crank slider, which is the same approach that da Vinci
used in his original mechanical lion. This allows for the lion to walk/run with
all 4 legs simultaneously. The MEMS Vitruvian man (figure 6) uses 4 hot-cold
thermal actuators in series to allow the Vitruvian man to perform jumping jacks.
The MEMS flying machine (figure 7) uses the flapping wings (figure 4) and the
body frame of the flying mechanism (figure 3) in combination. Charge pumping
is used to raise the wings from the surface of the chip spontaneously when imaged
by SEM. There is also a ground bridge directly above the beams connected to
the wings to allow the wings to discharge when touching the bridge. This then
allows the wings to fall back down to the chip and build up the coulombic repulsion
once again to create a "flapping" motion. With all three designs,
one can see how combining both da Vinci's designs in the microscale create
something that hasn't been seen before. We offer this da Vinci tribute
in the hopes that it will inspire yet further generations of engineers.
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