Demonstration of Laser Power Delivery for Mobile Microrobots

Charles J. Carver, Toma Itagaki, Kechen Liu, Megan G. N. Manik, Zachary Englhardt, Vikram Iyer, Xia Zhou
Left - A proposed power system for mobile robots leveraging a laser with precise tracking capabilities. Right - A gram-scale robot prototype powered by a laser.


Advances in autonomous robotic networks have allowed for many applications in communication, exploration, and monitoring. However, a major limitation in developing truly autonomous systems with robots is its operation time, often bottlenecked by the mismatch between battery capacity and power demands for motion. This challenge is especially challenging for miniature or microrobots given the limited payload they can shoulder. To combat these shortcomings, we demonstrate an integrated laser power delivery system that tracks and steers ground robots that will be capable of delivering a sufficient amount of power that could support motion, communication, and sensing. Our results independently demonstrate sufficient power delivery from the optical circuit and promising tracking error with our event camera tracking pipeline. However, the integrated system reveals future challenges in realizing a fully integrated power delivery system.