A Polyimide Film-Based Simple Force Plate for Measuring the Body Mass of Tiny Insects

Kenichiro Shimazaki, Takumi Sugimoto, Hirofumi Toda, Hidetoshi Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Insects exhibit excellent maneuvers such as running and flying despite their small bodies; therefore, their locomotion mechanism is expected to provide a design guideline for micromachines. Numerical simulations have been performed to elucidate this mechanism, whereby it is important to develop a model that is physically identical to the target insect’s parts to reproduce kinematic dynamics. In particular, in flight, the shape and mass of wings, which flap at high frequencies, are significant parameters. However, small insects such as fruit flies have small, thin, and light wings; thus, their mass cannot be easily measured. In this study, we proposed a high-resolution and simple force plate to measure the mass of each part of a tiny insect. The device consists of a circular plate supported by flat spiral springs made of polyimide film, and a laser displacement meter that detects the displacement of the center of the plate. The simple plate fabrication process requires only a couple of minutes. A fabricated force plate with a sub-N/m spring constant achieved a resolution of less than 2 µg. As a demonstration, the wing mass of the fruit flies was measured. The experimental results suggest that the wings accounted for approximately 0.4% of the body mass.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8352
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov


  • body mass measurement
  • force plate
  • fruit fly
  • laser processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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