Control of Micrometer Size Robots

Scientific Coordinator: Aude Bolopion     –

Michael Gauthier   –


Non contact robotics is as a promising solution to handle objects of less than 500 micrometers. Due to the small scale, on board actuation or sensing is not possible. Remote actuation, using for example magnetic fields, enables to power these microrobots. Several actuation principles can be used depending on the properties of the objects that should be controlled. However, major challenges, such as the closed loop control of 3D trajectories or the integration of manipulation tools, must still be faced to perform advanced tasks.


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Compared to classical approaches where the tools plus the objects should be moved, the use of remote force fields enables moving only the object. At small scales the inertia of the objects decreases drastically, which leads to important accelerations. The works performed in Minarob team focus on exploiting this property to increase the velocity of the displacements of the objects, while maintaining a good precision of the trajectory control. Several challenges must be faced on different topics:


  • Modeling: accurate models of the system that can be inverted in real time to perform trajectory control must be defined.
  • Design: the actuation platforms must be designed to maximize the force applied on the objects, which introduces important non linearity.
  • Fabrication: micrometer size robots must be fabricated in clean room facilities.
  • Sensors: high frequency position feedback of the objects is necessary, which can necessitate the use of original position sensors.
  • Control: control laws robust to the perturbation must be implemented at high frequency.

Related publications
  • DKHIL, Mohamed | Kharboutly, Mohamed | Bolopion, Aude | Régnier, Stéphane | Gauthier, Michaël Closed loop control of a magnetic particle at the air/liquid interface. IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (jun 2015, Pages pp 1-14)
  • Bouchebout, Soukeyna | Bolopion, Aude | Abrahamians, Jean-Ochin | Régnier, Stéphane An overview of multiple DoF magnetic actuated micro-robots. Journal of Micro-Nano Mechatronics. (Volume 7, Issue (4), Nov 2012, Pages :97-113)
  • Bouchebout, Soukeyna | Bolopion, Aude | Gauthier, Michaël | Régnier, Stéphane Position control of a ferromagnetic micro-particle in a dry environment. IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM'14) / Besançon - France(Publisher : IEEE, 2014, Pages pages 1-6)
  • DKHIL, Mohamed | Bolopion, Aude | Régnier, Stéphane | Gauthier, Michaël Optimization of the size of a magnetic microrobot for high throughput handling of micro-objects. IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM'14) / Besançon - France (Publisher : IEEE, 2014, Pages pages 372-377)
  • DKHIL, Mohamed | Bolopion, Aude | Régnier, Stéphane | Gauthier, Michaël Modeling and experiments of high speed magnetic micromanipulation at the air/liquid interface. IEEE International Conference on Intelligent RObots and Systems, IROS'14. (2014, Pages pages 4649-4655)
  • Wang, Lefeng | DKHIL, Mohamed | Bolopion, Aude | Rougeot, Patrick | Régnier, Stéphane | Gauthier, Michaël Simulation and Experiments on Magnetic MicroForces for Magnetic MicroRobots Applications. The Third International Conference on Manipulation, Manufacturing and Measurement on the Nanoscale, 3M-NANO 2013. (2013, Pages pages 1-6)
  • Bouchebout, Soukeyna | Bolopion, Aude | Kharboutly, Mohamed | IVAN, Ioan Alexandru | Agnus, Joël | Régnier, Stéphane Design and first experiments on MagPieR, the magnetic microrobot. Symposium on OptoMechatronic Technologies. / Paris, France (2012, Pages pages 1-2)
  • Kharboutly, Mohamed | Melis, Alexandre | Bolopion, Aude | Chaillet, Nicolas | Gauthier, Michaël 2D robotic control of a planar dielectrophoresis-based system. Manipulation, Manufacturing and Measurement on the Nanoscale. / Xi'an, Chine (Volume sur CD ROM, 2012, Pages pages 6 pages)