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Micromachines 2017, 8(10), 295; doi:10.3390/mi8100295

Microrobotic Platform for Single Motile Microorganism Investigation

1
Graduate School of Life Science and Systems Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu 808-0196, Japan
2
School of Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu 804-8550, Japan
3
Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8603, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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Abstract

We propose a microrobotic platform for single motile microorganism observation and investigation. The platform utilizes a high-speed online vision sensor to realize real-time observation of a microorganism under a microscopic environment with a relatively high magnification ratio. A microfluidic chip was used to limit the vertical movement of the microorganism and reduce the tracking system complexity. We introduce a simple image processing method, which utilizes high-speed online vision characteristics and shows robustness against image noise to increase the overall tracking performance with low computational time consumption. The design also considers the future integration of a stimulation system using microtools. Successful long-time tracking of a freely swimming microorganism inside of a microfluidic chip for more than 30 min was achieved notwithstanding the presence of noises in the environment of the cell. The specific design of the platform, particularly the tracking system, is described, and the performance is evaluated and confirmed through basic experiments. The potential of the platform to apply mechanical stimulation to a freely swimming microorganism is demonstrated by using a 50-µm-thick microtool. The proposed platform can be used for long-term observation and to achieve different kinds of stimulations, which can induce new behavior of the cells and lead to unprecedented discoveries in biological fields. View Full-Text
Keywords: automated microscopy; target tracking; motile microorganism; visual servoing automated microscopy; target tracking; motile microorganism; visual servoing
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Ahmad, B.; Maeda, H.; Kawahara, T.; Arai, F. Microrobotic Platform for Single Motile Microorganism Investigation. Micromachines 2017, 8, 295.

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