This work will present a detailed discussion on development of an automated test platform for reliability and lifetime expectancy studies of electrothermal micro-actuators. The actuators are designed using the top-most polysilicon layer of Sandia National Laboratories' SUMMiT V process. The image acquisition of the device is done using a Basler A 601f digital CCD c-mount camera, connected to a microscope with a 100 × magnification. To calculate the in-plane displacements of the device, a National Instruments' Vision image analysis software routine was utilized. An initial study is done to determine the actuator displacement characteristics with respect to the applied power. Based on the results from this study, the region of plastic deformation of the devices is determined. Arrhenius relationship theory is presented to model the plastic deformation based failure mechanism and allow the activation energy to be calculated.