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Sensors 2013, 13(5), 5857-5869; doi:10.3390/s130505857

Position Measurement/Tracking Comparison of the Instrumentation in a Droplet-Actuated-Robotic Platform

1 BEAMS Department, CP 165/56, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50 Avenue FD Roosevelt, Brussels B-1050, Belgium 2 FEMTO-ST/CNRS, 24 rue Alain Savary, Besançon F-25000, France
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 April 2013 / Revised: 25 April 2013 / Accepted: 25 April 2013 / Published: 7 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Devices)
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This paper reports our work on developing a surface tension actuated micro-robotic platform supported by three bubbles (liquid environment) or droplets (gaseous environment). The actuation principle relies on the force developed by surface tension below a millimeter, which benefits from scaling laws, and is used to actuate this new type of compliant robot. By separately controlling the pressure inside each bubble, three degrees of freedom can be actuated. We investigated three sensing solutions to measure the platform attitude in real-time (z-position of each droplet, leading to the knowledge of the z position and Θx and Θy tilts of the platform). The comparison between optical, resistive, and capacitive measurement principles is hereafter reported. The optical technique uses SFH-9201 components. The resistive technique involves measuring the electrical resistance of a path flowing through two droplets and the platform. This innovative technique for sensing table position combines three pairs of resistances, from which the resistance in each drop can be deduced, thus determining the platform position. The third solution is a more usual high frequency (~200 MHz) capacitive measurement. The resistive method has been proven reliable and is simple to implement. This work opens perspectives toward an interesting sensing solution for micro-robotic platforms.
Keywords: micro-assembly; microfluidics; drops; bubbles; positioning micro-assembly; microfluidics; drops; bubbles; positioning
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Casier, R.; Lenders, C.; Lhernould, M.S.; Gauthier, M.; Lambert, P. Position Measurement/Tracking Comparison of the Instrumentation in a Droplet-Actuated-Robotic Platform. Sensors 2013, 13, 5857-5869.

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