We conduct research in the application of rigorous design methodologies to the design of artifacts and environments for people.


Optimization-based design of a fully-compliant bistable micromechanism

Parkinson, M.B., Jensen, B.D., and Roach, G.M., 2000. Proceedings of ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences 7A: 635-642. (BibTeX Citation)



Micro-bistable mechanisms are used in microswitches and microvalves to reduce power consumption as power is applied only to switch states. Many of the bistable mechanism designs that have been presented incorporate rigid-body joints. These joints introduce unwanted friction and poor repeatability into the mechanism motion. A fully-compliant mechanism avoids these problems. Optimization techniques were used to find fully-compliant bistable micromechanism designs. The chosen objective was to minimize the displacement required between the two stable positions. Two families of designs were considered: those where the actuator was integral to the device and those where it remained in contact only during actuation. Mechanism designs are presented and are currently in the process of fabrication.