The ultraminiature robot that propelled itself into the Guinness Book
Traveling speed: 1.8 to 14.7 mm/s
Hill-climbing: Able to ascend slopes of approx. 5 degrees
Operating voltage range: 1.5V to 2.2V
Dimensions: (W) 11.0 x (D) 12.4 x (H) 10.8 mm
Recharging method: Automatically recharges while in case (Antenna: Positive; Tail: Negative)
Number of components: 98
Exterior: 92.5% sterling silver
Price: 50,000 yen
Monsieur, an ultraminiature, self-propelled mobile robot developed in March 1993, was a product born of the watch-related technologies cultivated at Epson over long years. The product's actuator, CPU-IC (brain), and power supply made full use of Epson's energy-saving technology, skill in miniaturization, and ability to provide increasingly advanced functionality. In addition, Monsieur used parts including an ultraminiature stepping motor, a low-power IC used in quartz watches, and a crystal resonator. The microrobot was designed so that, when these parts were combined with a photodetector, it would advance toward a direct light source. The robot's most striking feature was its compactness. Its body, with a volume of only 1 cm3, contained a total of 98 components.
At the International Contest for Hill-Climbing Micromechanism held by the Japan Society of Precision Engineering in October 1991, Monsieur attracted a great deal of attention at the event venue; its novel design, evocative of an insect, captured a design prize. Later, it was commercialized for the Japanese market in 1993. In 1994, Monsieur entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's smallest robot, and in 1998 was selected as part of the New York Museum of Modern Art's Permanent Collection.