Laboratory for integrated Micro-Mechatronic Systems, CNRS, Mita Laboratory, Tokyo, Japan.

Intelligent Semiconductor Microdevices Laboratory of the University of Tokyo has strong competence in intelligent sensors and actuators systems. Dr. Mita, chief researcher, has over 15 years’ experience on autonomous distributed MEMS. Through Dr. Mita, LIMMS has a strong connection with Japanese Academic VLSI (Very Large Scale Integrated Circuit) Fabrication Foundry Center (VDEC, Univ. of Tokyo).

In the context of the Programmable Matter project, LIMMS will be responsible for the design and fabrication of the hardware component. The system will be composed with many identical tiny objects called “catoms”. Due to the integrated MEMS actuators, device can physically attach and detach from their adjacent devices. An integrated LSI controller circuit will decide with which adjacent catom should be attached. Power for controller and actuator will be fed from their environment and transformed to electricity by the integrated rectifier.

Direction 1: True 3-D LSI/MEMS chip integration with deformable substrate (Fabrication)

The goal is to develop a multi-chip integration method for MEMS and LSI chips with flexible substrate to fabricate designed catom.

Direction 2: Distance Energy Transduction (Energy Feeding for Operation)

In this research, we adopt a “remote power feeding” scheme. That means that energy transmitter intentionally sends power and each of the catom will rectify them into electricity. Three independent power transfer schemes will be tested.

Direction 3: Microelectromechanical Chucking for catoms recombination (Functionality)

The microactuator therefore has to “make a connection with neighbours and keep it mechanically” or “release the existing connection”. Actuation method will be selected from different candidates.