Automated Embryo Manipulation and Rotation via Robotic nDEP-Tweezers

Kaicheng Huang, Ihab Abu Ajamieh, Zhenxi Cui, Jiewen Lai, James K. Mills, Henry K. Chu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Embryo manipulation is a fundamental task in assisted reproductive technology (ART). Nevertheless, conventional pick-place techniques often require proper alignment to avoid causing damage to the embryo and further, the tools have limited capability to orient the embryo being handled. OBJECTIVE: This paper presents a novel and non-invasive technique that can easily manipulate mouse embryos on a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Petri dish. METHODS: An inverted microchip with quadrupole electrodes was attached to a micromanipulator to become a robotic dielectrophoresis (DEP) tweezers, and a motorized platform provided additional mobility to the embryos lying on a Petri dish. Vision-based algorithms were developed to evaluate relevant information of the embryos from the image, and to provide feedback signals for precise position and orientation control of the embryo. RESULTS: A series of experiments was conducted to examine the system performance, and the embryo can be successfully manipulated to a specified location with the desired orientation for subsequent processing. CONCLUSION: This system offers a non-contact, low cost, and flexible method for rapid cell handling. SIGNIFICANCE: As the DEP tweezers can grasp the embryo without the need for precise alignment, the overall time required to process a large number of embryos can be shortened.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9224187
Pages (from-to)2152-2163
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE transactions on bio-medical engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Control
  • embryo manipulation
  • micro manipulation
  • negative dielectrophoresis
  • visual servo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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