Automated dual-arm micromanipulation with path planning for micro-object handling

Kar Hang Chu, James K. Mills, William L. Cleghorn

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Object handling has been a challenging operation at the microscale level. In order to manipulate these micro-objects within a confined workspace, it is inevitably imperative for the handling tool to be manipulated along an unobstructed trajectory or path. In addition, the presence of undesirable adhesion force can cause the object to adhere to the tool, making the release process problematic. This work presents the development of an automated dual-arm micromanipulation process to overcome these challenges in micro-object handling. The two probes of the dual-arm micromanipulation system were individually controlled to manipulate a micro-sphere lying on top of a glass substrate. A potential field path-planning algorithm was employed to evaluate the paths for positioning of the two probes and prevent the probes from undergoing collisions. To release the grasped micro-sphere after manipulation with minimal adhesion force, the orientations of two probes were reconfigured to reduce the contact area with the sphere. Vision images obtained from a top-view CCD camera were utilized to evaluate the contour of the sphere for automatic reconfiguration of the two probes. Experimental results confirmed that the two probes can be manipulated to grasp the targeted micro-sphere from arbitrary positions and the incorporation of the probe reconfiguration scheme yields a higher success rate for sphere release.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-174
Number of pages9
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Automation
  • Computer vision
  • Dual-arm micromanipulation
  • Path planning
  • Robot control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Computer Science Applications


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