Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Micro-manipulation platform based on several mobile micro-robots

Micromanipulation platform based on several mobile micro-robots:
For research in the domain of micromanipulation often a very high flexibility is required in order to be able to perform a variety of experiments with the same manipulation set-up. A micro manipulation platform based on small mobile micro robots offers this flexibility: a combination of several relatively inexpensive cooperative robots with several degrees of freedom and a variety of integrated tools can be arranged in any configuration possible in order to perform a wide range of very specific micro manipulation tasks.

The proposed test platform consists of an XY stage on top of which several cm3-sized mobile micro robots are moving with 4 degrees of freedom (X,Y,Teta_z,Teta_x). Two cameras are integrated on the set-up: one giving a global top view and one giving a local bottom view. The image of the global top view is used for position measurement of the mobile robots by optical tracking. The local camera gives a microscopic view of the objects to be manipulated and the tool tips of the robot, just like an inverted microscope. The working area of the micro robots consists of a steel plate with in the middle an aperture that is covered by a thin glass plate. The samples can be put on the glass plate through which they can be observed by the local camera from the bottom. Several micro robots have simultaneous access to the samples from the surrounding steel plate. As the working area is fixed on the XY stage, the whole scene - samples and robots - can be moved in X and Y direction, in order to move the field of view of the local camera to a certain zone of interest. The tool of the robot is fixed on a rotational actuator (Teta_x) that moves the tool along a circular path within a vertical plane in order to adjust the height of the tool. The local camera is fixed on a linear actuator in order to keep the tool tip of the robot always in the focal plane, by maintaining the length of the optical path constant.

Application fields:
- micro-biology;
- nanotechnology;
- MEMs;
- micro/ nano-electronics;
- micro-assembly;
- education;
- …

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