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Swimming microrobots achieve record speeds, thanks to microscale 3D printing

MSRAL has created a record-breaking swimming microrobot using microscale multi-material 3D printing, enabling helical hydrogel tails to adapt to their environment.

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Tumbling Magnetic Microrobots In Vivo

A rectangular robot as tiny as a few human hairs can travel throughout a colon by doing back flips, Purdue University engineers have demonstrated in live animal models.

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Path Planning and Micromanipulation using a Learned Model

This R-AL/IROS 2018 video provides information about the experimental setup that was used to perform push manipulation experiments on micro-parts followed by the experimental results. Initially, an example of a training data collection is demonstrated. After this, the first experiment shows the trajectory tracking task being performed using a single manipulator and the corresponding failure case it entails. The second experiment shows a similar task being performed using two manipulators. The third experiment shows the task being performed in the presence of obstacles. The final task is a demonstration of the system being used for an assembly application, where the assembled part is modeled as an obstacle. At each stage, labels have been provided to explain the failure and the success cases.

Control of Magnetic Microrobot Teams for Temporal Micromanipulation Tasks

This T-RO 2018 paper video shows multi-robot LTL experiments using two, three, and four mm-scale magnetic robots. The final experiment illustrates a two robots executing a temporal microassembly task.

Soft microrobots demonstrate potential for targeted drug delivery

MSRAL creates tiny tumbling soft robots that can be controlled with rotating magnetic fields. In a newly-published study, the robots showed that they can climb slopes, tumble upstream against fluid flow, and deposit substances at precise locations in neural tissue.

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Force-Feedback Micromanipulation Using Mobile Microrobots With Colored Fiducials

This R-AL/IROS 2018 video provides shows the experimental results for a micro-scale Force-Sensing Mobile Microrobot (uFSMM) with colored tracking fiducials. First, a micro transport experiment without force guided and then with force guided is shown. Next, a video force guided micromanipulation to re-arrange four micro parts in the workspace is presented. Finally, a video illustrating the micro assembly example with force guiding provided.

A Micro-Force Sensing Mobile Microrobot for Automated Micromanipulation Tasks

This T-ASE 2018 paper video shows results from the experimental tests for the Micro-Force Sensing Mobile Microrobot (uFSMM) described in the paper. It demonstrates automated micromanipulation with path planning, and automated micro manipulation with real-time force control.

Modeling, Control, and Planning for Multiple Mobile Microrobots

This a video from our IDETC 2019 paper.  In it, we present the modeling, control and planning for multiple magnetic mobile microrobots actuated on a planar array of coils that generates local magnetic fields. The system is capable of actuating multiple microrobots independently. Such systems have a future in micromanufacturing and biomedical applications. The coils are modeled extensively to understand the forces generated by various coil combinations of the array, and solutions for different actuation force directions are discovered. The path planning problem is formulated as a Markov decision process that solves a policy to reach a goal from any location in the workspace. The presence of multiple robots in the workspace can interfere with their motion. Hence, the coil models are used concurrently with models of interaction force between multiple magnetic robots to plan efficient paths to reach a goal in the workspace in the presence of other robots.

All Terrain Microbots

The MSRAL develops micro-robots, smaller than a millimeter. Their latest creations can “tumble” over obstacles in both dry and wet environments, using a rotating magnetic field. They envision biomedical micro-robots being injected into patients for super-focused drug delivery.

The Fantastic Voyage: Microrobots and the Human Body

In the Fantastic Voyage movie from 1966, scientists shrink a submarine and its human crew to microscopic size and then inject it into a patient. Once inside, the submarine drives its way through the bloodstream and into the brain, where members of the crew leave the vessel and use laser guns to perform delicate surgery. Is this just science fiction? Thanks to recent developments in small scale manufacturing, robotics, and biology we are actually a lot closer to this becoming a reality. In this talk, Prof. Cappelleri discusses the recent breakthroughs in these areas working towards the ultimate goal of having microrobots inside the human body capable of performing precise medical procedures.  This invited presentation was given at the Purdue University Dawn or Doom 2017 conference.

Microbots: Medical Infantry | David Cappelleri | TEDxPurdueU TEDx Talks

The microevolution is among us! Dr. Cappelleri, Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, discusses exciting cutting edge technology that has ground breaking applications in healthcare including potential cancer treatment! His research in micro-robots, which can barely be seen on the American dime, may be the new frontier in medical practice.

Microrobots Have Soft Touch

The possibilities seem to be endless for microrobots (robots smaller than a millimeter), from medicine to manufacturing. But there are also plenty of challenges. Dave Cappelleri and his team at Purdue have already tackled one of these challenges — how do you get something to move that is too small for a motor or a battery? Now they are tackling another: how can a microrobot use just the right amount of force to manipulate an individual cell? The answer lies in tracking them visually.

Localized Magnetic Field Control for Microrobots

Using localized magnetic fields and vision-based control to navigate single and multiple robots around virtual objects.

Autonomous grasping robots will help future astronauts maintain space habitats

MSRAL is using machine learning to train a robot to recognize a jumbled pile of items, locate the one item it needs, and retrieve it in the most efficient way. It’s one small step to creating resilient and versatile robots that can assist astronauts in maintaining future extraterrestrial habitats on the Moon, on Mars, or in deep space.

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Sim-Suction: Learning a Suction Grasp Policy for Cluttered Environments Using a Synthetic Benchmark

In a recent T-RO, MSRAL introduces an innovative language-guided, open-set suction-grasping policy learned from the synthetic dataset. This approach advances the field of robotic suction grasping of unknown objects within cluttered environments.

Paper title: Sim-Suction: Learning a Suction Grasp Policy for Cluttered Environments Using a Synthetic Benchmark

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Autonomous Door Opening with Interacting BoomCopter UAV

This video is from our 2019 ASME IDETC paper where we present the design of a light-weight, compliant end-effector and an image processing strategy that together enable the Interacting-BoomCopter (I-BC) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to perform an autonomous door opening task. Autonomy is achieved through the use of feedback from an on-board camera for door detection & localization, and embedded force and distance sensors in the end-effector for detecting the physical interaction with the door. The results of several experimental flight tests are presented in which the end-effector and image processing strategy were deployed on the I-BC to successfully open a small enclosure door autonomously.

Autonomous Control of the Interacting-BoomCopter UAV for Remote Sensor Mounting

This ICRA 2018 video shows the Interacting-BoomCopter (I-BC) performing an autonomous sensor mounting task. The I-BC is first piloted manually for takeoff before transitioning to an autonomous control mode. Next, the I-BC uses a sonar distance sensor and a webcam to align with a visual target on a wall. Then, the I-BC uses its boom-propeller to move forward without pitching and mount a sensor package at a target location on a wall. Finally, the I-BC reverses its boom-propeller to retreat from the wall and then flies to a safe position to transition back to manual control mode for landing. For reference, each stage of the autonomous sensor mounting task is described by a brief label at the bottom of the video.

Boomcopter: The Drone That Can Open Doors

Consumer drones can hover and take photos, but they can’t physically interact with their environment. The Boomcopter changes that. It’s a tri-rotor, with an extra arm and propeller that allows it to move laterally, while performing a task with its arm. It can open doors, flip switches, and attach sensors onto walls — all autonomously, using an array of sensors and cameras. In dangerous or inaccessible environments, the Boomcopter can perform tasks that would be too risky for humans.

Science of Safety – Portsmouth Robotics Demonstration

DOE decided to conduct a robotic demonstrations at Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio, which is the site of our next major decommissioning effort. DOE had the full participation of United Steelworkers members, and the full support of Fluor-BWXT|Portsmouth, our decommissioning contractor. Two of DOE’s premier national labs – Savannah River and Sandia – provide technical leadership and coordination in addition to demonstrating some of their technologies. Two other world-class federal labs provided their technologies – NASA and JHU-APL, which is a university affiliated research center for the Department of Navy. Two non-profit organizations also, SwRI and OSRF demonstrated their technologies, and five universities provided their robotic technologies. Over a 4-day period, from August 22 through 25, they demonstrated 24 individual robotic technologies that were operated by about 30 USW/FBP workers. After the demos, 9 technologies were determined by the USW members to be near-ready for deployment with a few minor tweaks and a follow-up round of field demonstrations.  The Purdue and MSRAL robot demos begin at the 4:50 mark in the video.