Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Zinger, Donald S.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Electrical Engineering


Electrical engineering; Biomedical engineering; Microelectromechanical systems--Research; Microactuators--Research; Prosthesis; Biomedical engineering


The objective of this thesis is to develop a theoretical power converter that is capable of powering a MEMS type electrostatic microactuator from the power provided by a glucose fuel cell. The proposed converter is to serve as an investigation into the possibility of developing an artificial muscle cell that is able to draw energy directly from the sugar in human blood and convert it into linear motion. The ultimate intent is to develop an actuation approach envisioned to drive active prosthetics that are permanently attached to the human body in the effort to eliminate the need for external power sources.;The final configuration of the power converter is based on a switched capacitor high-ratio step-up converter that is capable of providing a minimum 7.0 volt output while being supplied with 0.75 volts input. The 7.0 volt output limit is determined by a review of literature related to the selected electrostatic microactuator and the 0.75 volt input limit is dictated by reviewed research on glucose fuel cell technologies. The final configuration performs as designed and shows that the concept of using the energy stored in the blood to drive mechanical actuators is achievable and the development of an artificial muscle cell is possible. Furthering this technology could lead to advancements in both active prosthetics and robotics.


Advisors: Donald S. Zinger.||Committee members: Michael J. Haji-Sheikh; Martin Kocanda; Lichuan Liu.


52 pages




Northern Illinois University

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