Special Issue "Robotic Micromanipulation"

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "A:Physics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Michael Gauthier
Website
Guest Editor
FEMTO-ST Institute, AS2M Department, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Université de Franche-Comté/CNRS/ENSMM, Besançon, France
Interests: dexterous microhandling; contact based manipulation; microrobotic; non contact actuation; untethered microrobots
Dr. Aude Bolopion
Website
Guest Editor
FEMTO-ST Institute, AS2M Department, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Université de Franche-Comté/CNRS/ENSMM, Besançon, France
Interests: non contact actuation; microrobotics; untethered microrobots; magnetic actuation; dielectrophoresis; laser based manipulation; lab on chips

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The ability to displace, orientate, fabricate, and characterize micrometer scale objects has become increasingly important, with applications ranging from the electronic industry to the biomedical domain. Two major approaches are currently investigated: contact-based and non contact-based manipulation. They both face similar issues: increasing the dexterity of tools while minimizing their size, increasing the velocity and the reliability of manipulation and improving the comprehension of physics at a small scale. In this Special Issue, we aim to highlight some of the recent developments that will pave the way towards more efficient micromanipulation. We invite research papers, reviews, and shorter communications that focus on tethered or untethered microrobotic systems for the manipulation, fabrication, or characterization of micrometer-sized objects. Topics of particular interest include, but are not limited to, modeling, design, fabrication, path planning and control of microrobots, as well as characterization at small scales.

Dr. Michael Gauthier
Dr. Aude Bolopion
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Contact and non contact micromanipulation
  • Microrobotics
  • Untethered robots
  • Microgrippers
  • Position and force sensing at small scales
  • Modeling and design of microrobots
  • Control and path planning for micromanipulation

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Micromanipulation System for Isolating a Single Cryptosporidium Oocyst
Micromachines 2020, 11(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11010003 - 18 Dec 2019
Abstract
In this paper, an integrated system for contact micromanipulation of Cryptosporidium oocysts is presented. The system integrates five actuators and a partially automated control system and contacts the oocyst using a drawn glass end effector with tip dimensions of 1 μ m. The [...] Read more.
In this paper, an integrated system for contact micromanipulation of Cryptosporidium oocysts is presented. The system integrates five actuators and a partially automated control system and contacts the oocyst using a drawn glass end effector with tip dimensions of 1 μ m. The system is intended to allow single cell analysis (SCA) of Cryptosporidium—a very harmful parasite found in water supplies—by isolating the parasite oocyst of 5 μ m diameter in a new environment. By allowing this form of analysis, the source of Cryptosporidium can be found and potential harm to humans can be reduced. The system must overcome the challenges of locating the oocysts and end effector in 3D space and contact adhesion forces between them, which are prominent over inertial forces on this scale. An automated alignment method is presented, using the Prewitt operator to give feedback on the level of focus and this system is tested, demonstrating alignment accuracy of <2 μ m. Moreover, to overcome the challenge of adhesion forces, use of dry and liquid environments are investigated and a strategy is developed to capture the oocyst in the dry environment and release in the liquid environment. An experiment is conducted on the reliability of the system for isolating a Cryptosporidium oocyst from its culture, demonstrating a success rate of 98%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation)
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Open AccessArticle
Automatic Micro-Robotic Identification and Electrical Characterization of Graphene
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120870 - 11 Dec 2019
Abstract
Micromechanically exfoliating graphene on S i / S i O 2 substrates is commonplace for graphene researchers, but locating actual graphene flakes on these substrates is a high-effort and tiresome task. The main purpose of this work was to establish a completely automated [...] Read more.
Micromechanically exfoliating graphene on S i / S i O 2 substrates is commonplace for graphene researchers, but locating actual graphene flakes on these substrates is a high-effort and tiresome task. The main purpose of this work was to establish a completely automated procedure to identify those graphene flakes with as little human interaction as possible, improving on the limitations of current methods. Furthermore, automatic electrical characterization of the identified flakes was performed. The proposed micro-robotic automation sequence consists of three main steps. To start, a sample surface plane is calculated, based on multiple foci points across the substrate. Secondly, flakes on the substrate are identified in the hue, saturation, and value (HSV) color space, with an implementation to fit the measurement probe, used to avoid undersized samples and adjust the flake orientation. Finally, electrical characterization is performed based on four point probe measurements with the Van der Pauw method. Results of the successfully implemented automation sequence are presented together with flake electrical properties and validation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Waveform Assessment of a Flexible-Structure-Based Inertia-Drive Motor
Micromachines 2019, 10(11), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10110771 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
This paper reports the mechanical design, waveform investigation and experimental validation of an flexible-structure-based inertia-drive linear motor. The flexible structure is designed and verified with finite element analysis to meet the bandwidth requirement for high-frequency actuation. In order to improve the output velocity, [...] Read more.
This paper reports the mechanical design, waveform investigation and experimental validation of an flexible-structure-based inertia-drive linear motor. The flexible structure is designed and verified with finite element analysis to meet the bandwidth requirement for high-frequency actuation. In order to improve the output velocity, non-resonance low-harmonic driving waveform is implemented and evaluated. Experimental results show that the motor is capable of an output velocity of 2.41 mm/s with the waveform, compared to 0.73 mm/s with the classic saw-tooth waveform actuation. The improvement of the non-resonance low-harmonic waveform for the flexible-structure-based motor is confirmed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Capillary Transport of Miniature Soft Ribbons
Micromachines 2019, 10(10), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10100684 - 11 Oct 2019
Abstract
Manipulation of soft miniature devices is important in the construction of soft robots, wearable devices, and biomedical devices. However, transport of soft miniature devices is still a challenging task, and few studies has been conducted on the subject. This paper reports a droplet-based [...] Read more.
Manipulation of soft miniature devices is important in the construction of soft robots, wearable devices, and biomedical devices. However, transport of soft miniature devices is still a challenging task, and few studies has been conducted on the subject. This paper reports a droplet-based micromanipulation method for transporting miniature soft ribbons. We show that soft ribbons can be successfully picked up and released to the target location using water droplets. We analyze the forces involved during the process numerically and investigate the influence of the width of the ribbon on the deformation. We verify that the deformation of a soft ribbon caused by elasto-capillary phenomena can be calculated using a well-known equation for calculating the deflection of a cantilever beam. The experimental and theoretical results show that the deformability of a soft miniature device during manipulation depends on its width. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation)
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Open AccessArticle
Tele–Robotic Platform for Dexterous Optical Single-Cell Manipulation
Micromachines 2019, 10(10), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10100677 - 08 Oct 2019
Abstract
Single-cell manipulation is considered a key technology in biomedical research. However, the lack of intuitive and effective systems makes this technology less accessible. We propose a new tele–robotic solution for dexterous cell manipulation through optical tweezers. A slave-device consists of a combination of [...] Read more.
Single-cell manipulation is considered a key technology in biomedical research. However, the lack of intuitive and effective systems makes this technology less accessible. We propose a new tele–robotic solution for dexterous cell manipulation through optical tweezers. A slave-device consists of a combination of robot-assisted stages and a high-speed multi-trap technique. It allows for the manipulation of more than 15 optical traps in a large workspace with nanometric resolution. A master-device (6+1 degree of freedom (DoF)) is employed to control the 3D position of optical traps in different arrangements for specific purposes. Precision and efficiency studies are carried out with trajectory control tasks. Three state-of-the-art experiments were performed to verify the efficiency of the proposed platform. First, the reliable 3D rotation of a cell is demonstrated. Secondly, a six-DoF teleoperated optical-robot is used to transport a cluster of cells. Finally, a single-cell is dexterously manipulated through an optical-robot with a fork end-effector. Results illustrate the capability to perform complex tasks in efficient and intuitive ways, opening possibilities for new biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation)
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Open AccessArticle
Three-Dimensional Autofocusing Visual Feedback for Automated Rare Cells Sorting in Fluorescence Microscopy
Micromachines 2019, 10(9), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10090567 - 27 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sorting rare cells from heterogeneous mixtures makes a significant contribution to biological research and medical treatment. However, the performances of traditional methods are limited due to the time-consuming preparation, poor purity, and recovery rate. In this paper, we proposed a cell screening method [...] Read more.
Sorting rare cells from heterogeneous mixtures makes a significant contribution to biological research and medical treatment. However, the performances of traditional methods are limited due to the time-consuming preparation, poor purity, and recovery rate. In this paper, we proposed a cell screening method based on the automated microrobotic aspirate-and-place strategy under fluorescence microscopy. A fast autofocusing visual feedback (FAVF) method is introduced for precise and real-time three-dimensional (3D) location. In the context of this method, the scalable correlation coefficient (SCC) matching is presented for planar locating cells with regions of interest (ROI) created for autofocusing. When the overlap occurs, target cells are separated by a segmentation algorithm. To meet the shallow depth of field (DOF) limitation of the microscope, the improved multiple depth from defocus (MDFD) algorithm is used for depth detection, taking 850 ms a time with an accuracy rate of 96.79%. The neighborhood search based algorithm is applied for the tracking of the micropipette. Finally, experiments of screening NIH/3T3 (mouse embryonic fibroblast) cells verifies the feasibility and validity of this method with an average speed of 5 cells/min, 95% purity, and 80% recovery rate. Moreover, such versatile functions as cell counting and injection, for example, could be achieved by this expandable system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Contactless and Biocompatible Approach for 3D Active Microrobotic Targeted Drug Delivery
Micromachines 2019, 10(8), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10080504 - 31 Jul 2019
Abstract
As robotic tools are becoming a fundamental part of present day surgical interventions, microrobotic surgery is steadily approaching clinically-relevant scenarios. In particular, minimally invasive microrobotic targeted drug deliveries are reaching the grasp of the current state-of-the-art technology. However, clinically-relevant issues, such as lack [...] Read more.
As robotic tools are becoming a fundamental part of present day surgical interventions, microrobotic surgery is steadily approaching clinically-relevant scenarios. In particular, minimally invasive microrobotic targeted drug deliveries are reaching the grasp of the current state-of-the-art technology. However, clinically-relevant issues, such as lack of biocompatibility and dexterity, complicate the clinical application of the results obtained in controlled environments. Consequently, in this work we present a proof-of-concept fully contactless and biocompatible approach for active targeted delivery of a drug-model. In order to achieve full biocompatiblity and contacless actuation, magnetic fields are used for motion control, ultrasound is used for imaging, and induction heating is used for active drug-model release. The presented system is validated in a three-dimensional phantom of human vessels, performing ten trials that mimic targeted drug delivery using a drug-coated microrobot. The system is capable of closed-loop motion control with average velocity and positioning error of 0.3 mm/s and 0.4 mm, respectively. Overall, our findings suggest that the presented approach could augment the current capabilities of microrobotic tools, helping the development of clinically-relevant approaches for active in-vivo targeted drug delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation)
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Open AccessArticle
Two-Dimensional Manipulation in Mid-Air Using a Single Transducer Acoustic Levitator
Micromachines 2019, 10(4), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10040257 - 18 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
We report a single transducer acoustic levitator capable of manipulating objects in two-dimensions. The levitator consists of a centrally actuated vibrating plate and a flat reflector. We show that the levitation position of the object depends not only on the vibration frequency, but [...] Read more.
We report a single transducer acoustic levitator capable of manipulating objects in two-dimensions. The levitator consists of a centrally actuated vibrating plate and a flat reflector. We show that the levitation position of the object depends not only on the vibration frequency, but also on the tilting angle between the plate and the reflector. Additionally, new levitation positions can be created by actuating the plate with a composite signal of two frequencies using frequency switching. Based on recorded levitation positions, such single transducer acoustic levitator can manipulate a cluster of levitated microspheres in predefined trajectories, with mean position error of 155 ± 84 µm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation)
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