Demonstration of a wireless driven MEMS pond skater that uses EWOD technology

Yoshio Mita, Yifan Li, Masanori Kubota, S. Morishita, William Parkes, Les Haworth, Brian Flynn, Jonathan Terry, T. Tang, Alec Ruthven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


A silicon swimming robot or pond skating device has been demonstrated. It floats on liquid surfaces using surface tension and is capable of movement using electrowetting on dielectric (EWOD) based propulsion. Its dimensions are 6 × 9 mm and the driving mechanism involves first trapping air bubbles within the liquid onto the hydrophobic surface of the device. The air bubbles are then moved using EWOD, which provides the propulsion. The device employs a recently reported View the MathML source EWOD technology enabling a driving voltage of ≈15 V, which is low enough for RF power transmission, thus facilitating wire-free movement. A wired version has been measured to move 1.35 mm in 168 ms (a speed of 8 mm s−1). This low voltage-EWOD (<15 V) device, fabricated using a CMOS compatible process, is believed to be the world’s smallest swimming MEMS device that has no mechanical moving parts. The paper also reports results of EWOD droplet operation driven by wireless power transmission and demonstrates that such a wireless design can be successfully mounted on a floating EWOD device to produce movement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-802
JournalSolid-State Electronics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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