MICRON: Small Autonomous Robot for Cell Manipulation Applications
Manipulating in the micro- or even nano world still poses a great challenge to robotics. Conventional (stationary) systems suffer from drawbacks regarding integration into process supervision and multi-robot approaches, which become highly relevant to fight scaling effects. This paper describes work currently being carried out which aims to make automated manipulation of micrometer-scaled objects possible by robots with nanometer precision. The goal is to establish a small cluster of (up to five) micro robots equipped with on-board electronics, sensors and wireless power supply. Power autonomy has been reached using inductive energy transmission from an external wireless power supply system or a battery based system. Electronics requirements are fulfilled in the electronic module with the full custom integrated circuit design for the robot locomotion control and the closed loop force control for AFM tool in cell manipulation applications. The maximum velocity obtained is about 0.4 mm/s with a saw tooth voltage signals of 20Vpp and 2500 Hz. In order to keep a AFM tool on micro-robot a specific tip with integrated piezoresistance, instead of the classical laser beam methodology, is validated for force measurement.