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Dr. Felix Beyeler, Company Femtotools, Switzerland

FEMTOTOOLS is one of the end users of Hydromel project, in particular it’s responsible of the development of Demonstrator 1:” Packaging of micro force sensors and micro-grippers”. In this context FEMTOTOOLS collaborates actively with CSEM for the development of the manipulation system, with MEC for the quality inspection and with KNT and TYN for the redesign of the micro-force sensors. FEMTOTOOLS is a spin-off of ETH Zurich and it’s at the cutting edge of technology in the development of intelligent system, actively involved in new patents development.




NEW!! FEMTOTOOLS AWARDS at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2009) in Kobe, Japan with “Best Student Paper Award” and “Best Automation Paper Award” (see also News from Asia – May)

Can you tell few words about your company and its creation? Why it has been created?

FemtoTools GmbH develops scientific instruments for micro force sensing, micro-handling. It is a spin-off of the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS) at ETH Zurich and has been founded in 2007. FemtoTools has been created since researchers from many institutes in the world were interested in the MEMS force sensing technology developed at IRIS.


What is your role in the project as a company?

FemtoTools is highly interested in the combination of microrobotics and self-assembly for the efficient fabrication of future products. Our role is to design and fabricate MEMS components for the development of self-assembly processes and we are currently exploring new methods for the visual inspection of microfabricated systems.


You have been proposed to enter into the project after its first year, why did you accept?

We believe that our participation will result in a mutual benefit for both the Hydromel consortium and FemtoTools.


What are your expectations?

We expect to directly benefit from the developments made in collaboration with the project partners.


What are the challenges to take part in such big IP?

The technical objectives of Hydromel are very ambitious.  The challenge is to find optimal solutions in a short amount of time. Another challenge is to keep the overview of the administrative tasks associated with Hydromel.


Is it difficult for a SME to be involved in such a big project?

I do not think that it is more difficult for us than for other project partners. Most of our employees have an academic background and have been involved in large scale research projects before.


Are you happy with the project progress? With the project partner?

I think a lot of interesting results have already been achieved and there will be more in the near future.


Are there already concrete interesting results for your organisation?

A method for the non-contact testing of MEMS force sensors and microgrippers has been invented. This method enables the efficient identification of defective MEMS devices prior to packaging. This technology already reduces the fabrication costs of the FemtoTools products and may also be interesting for manufacturers of inertial sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes.


Are you ready to take part to other EU project?

Yes, we are already taking part in the FP7 project NANOMA. Also, we are looking for other future projects in the area of microsystems technology, material science, biomedical research, nanotechnology and microrobotics.


Can you tell us about your core business?

FemtoTools currently has two main product lines. First one is capacitive micro force sensors and second line is force sensing microgrippers. Also, we are offering the development of customized MEMS devices and complete microrobotic systems at a reasonable price.



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