MEchanical MIrroring using Controlled stiffness and Actuators (MEMICA) Homepage

This Website describes the JPL's NDEAA Technologies joint activity with Prof. Mavroidis from the Robotics and Mechanisms Dept., Rutgers University. In this project, the team is pursuing the development and demonstration of a novel haptic interfacing capability called MEMICA (remote MEchanical MIrroring using Controlled stiffness and Actuators). MEMICA is intended to provide human operators intuitive and interactive feeling of the stiffness and forces at remote or virtual sites in support of space, medical, underwater, virtual reality, military and field robots performing dexterous manipulation operations. The key aspect of the MEMICA system is a miniature Electrically Controlled Stiffness (ECS) element that mirrors the stiffness at remote/virtual sites. The ECS elements make use of Electro-Rheological Fluid (ERF), which is an Electro-Active Polymer (EAP), to achieve this feeling of stiffness. Forces applied at the robot end-effector due to a compliant environment will be reflected to the user by this ERF device where a change in the system viscosity will occur proportionally to the force to be transmitted.
View video of a scaled up ECS demo(5.6MB)Click here to play the RealVideo/Audio clip alternatively low resolution version(1.08MB)

Currently, medical applications of the MEMICA technology are being considered by the following team:
JPL - Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Dr. Benjamin Dolgin and Dr. Sean Leary
Rutgers University - Dr. Constantinos Mavroidis, and Dr. Mourad Bouzit
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center - Rodney White, M.D., and George Kopchok
NASA Johnson Space Center - Dr. Deborah Harm

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Cyberglove with ECS elements

MEMICA Experimental Setup

Expected application to telesurgery


"Electrorheological Fluid Based Force Feedback Device," 1999 SPIE Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies VI Conference, Boston, MA, September 19-22, 1999, Vol. 3840, pp. 88-99.

"Modeling and Design of an Electro-Rheological Fluid Based Haptic System for Tele-Operation of Space Robots," SPACE and ROBOTICS 2000 Conference: The 4th International Conference andExposition/Demonstration on Robotics for Challenging Situations and Environments, Albuquerque, NM, February 27-March 2, 2000.

"Controlled Compliance Haptic Interface Using Electro-rheological Fluids," Paper 3987-40, 2000 SPIE Conference on Electro-Active Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD 2000), SPIE 7th Annual International Symposium on Smart Materials and Structures, Newport Beach, CA, March 5-9, 2000

"Design and Modeling of an Electro-Rheological Fluid Based Haptic Interface," 2000 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Baltimore MD, September 10-13, 2000.
"Robotics and Automatic NDE," Section 10.3, Chapter 10: "Future Trends in Robotics and Automated NDE," Topics on NDE (TONE) Series, "Automation, Miniature Robotics and Sensors for Nondestructive Evaluation and Testing," Volume 4, Y. Bar-Cohen (Vol. Ed.), ASNT, Columbus, OH, March 2000.
"Human Muscle Enhancement Using Advanced Actuators," C. Mavroidis, J. Misuraca, K. DeLaurentis, M. Badescu, and Y. Bar-Cohen, DARPA Workshop on Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation (EHPA), Washington, D.C., March 2-3, 2000
"Virtual reality robotic telesurgery simulations using MEMICA haptic system," SPIE Smart Structures 2001, EAPAD Conf., paper 4329-47

"Haptic Interfacing via ERF," -- Dinos Mavroidis, Yoseph Bar-Cohen, and Mourad Bouzit, Topic 7, Chapter 19.0, in "Electroactive Polymer (EAP) Actuators as Artificial Muscles - Reality, Potential and Challenges," Y. Bar-Cohen (Book Editor), SPIE Press, Vol. PM98, ISBN 0-8194-4054-X, (March 2001), pp. 567-594

Media Publications

"Smart fluids move into the marketplace," The Industrial Physicist, Dec. 2003/Jan. 2004

Patent disclosures related to MEMICA

Y. Bar-Cohen, C. Pfeiffer, C. Mavroidis and B. Dolgin, "Remote MEchanical MIrroring using Controlled stiffness and Actuators (MEMICA)," New Technology Report, January 18, 1999, Item No. 0237b, Docket 20642, January 27, 1999. Provisional Patent on August 24, 1999, Rutgers U. Docket #99-0056, Attorney's Docket No. 744-16P. Tech Briefs, Vol. 24, No. 2, Feb. 2000, pp. 7a-7b. Filled for patent on Sept. 11, 2000.


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Last update April 24, 2000