Neural networks integrated circuit with switchable gait pattern for insect-type microrobot


Insects have millimeter-sized bodies but excellent autonomous control. Therefore, numerous researchers have been bio-inspired by their attractive features to create highly functional robots. In this research, we investigated a neural network integrated circuit (NNIC) that generated the driving waveform of an insect-type microrobot. Previously, we discussed an NNIC that had a switching mechanism for the gait pattern. It could switch between the tripod gait pattern and ripple gait pattern typical of insects. The simulation results revealed that the gait was unstable when changed by varying the coupling coefficient voltage of the synaptic model. In addition, the order of the ripple gait pattern had an error under certain conditions. In this paper, we compare the measurement results with the simulation results. As unstable gaits do not appear in the measurement results, the fabricated NNIC generated a more stable gait pattern than the simulation.

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This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP18K04060. Also, the part of this research supported by the Research Institute of Science and Technology Nihon University College of Science and Technology Leading Research Promotion Grant. The fabrication of the hexapod-type microrobot was supported by the Research Center for Micro Functional Devices, Nihon University. The VLSI chip of Fig. 1 has been fabricated by Digian Technology, Inc. This work is supported by VLSI Design and Education Center (VDEC), the University of Tokyo in collaboration with Synopsys, Inc., Cadence Design Systems, Inc. and Mentor Graphics, Inc. The VLSI chip in this study has been fabricated in the chip fabrication program of VLSI Design and Education Center (VDEC), the University of Tokyo in collaboration with On-Semiconductor Niigata, and Toppan Printing Corporation. Also, we appreciate the Nihon University Robotics Society. The author would like to thank Enago ( for the English language review.

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Correspondence to Ken Saito.

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Kurosawa, M., Sasaki, T., Usami, Y. et al. Neural networks integrated circuit with switchable gait pattern for insect-type microrobot. Artif Life Robotics (2021).

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  • Gait pattern
  • Insect
  • Integrated circuit
  • Microrobot
  • Neural networks