MEMS two-axis force plate array used to measure the ground reaction forces during the running motion of an ant

Hidetoshi Takahashi, Nguyen Thanh-Vinh, Uijin G. Jung, Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Isao Shimoyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


A terrestrial insect can perform agile running maneuvers. However, the balance of ground reaction forces (GRFs) between each leg in an insect have remained poorly characterized. In this report, we present a micro force plate array for the simultaneous measurement of the anterior and vertical components of GRFs of multiple legs during the running motion of an ant. The proposed force plate, which consists of a 2000μm×980μm×20μm plate base as the contact surface of an ant's leg, and the supported beams with piezoresistors on the sidewall and surface are sufficiently compact to be adjacently arrayed along the anterior direction. Eight plates arrayed in parallel were fabricated on the same silicon-on-insulator substrate to narrow the gap between each plate to 20μm. We compartmented the plate surface into 32 blocks and evaluated the sensitivities to two-axis forces in each block so that the exerted forces could be detected wherever a leg came into contact. The force resolutions in both directions were under 1μN within ±20μN. Using the fabricated force plate array, we achieved a simultaneous measurement of the GRFs of three legs on one side while an ant was running.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065014
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • MEMS
  • force plate
  • ground reaction force
  • insect running
  • side wall doping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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