Works done by the members of the team are supported by several companies, the European Union, the National Research Agency (ANR), the Franche-Comté région and several PIA (Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir) notably the Laboratory of excellence dedicated to Smart systems (LABEX Action), EIPHI graduate school, the national network for platforms of excellence Robotex and the I-SITE BFC (Initiatives-Science – Innovation –Territories – Economy) of the Bourgogne - Franche-Comté University.

Running Projects

FEDER project Mimedi - Microtechniques for innovative medicines - 2017-2021

Partners: Ilsa (Marchaux), Smaltis (Besançon), Aurea Technology (Besançon), Diaclone (Besançon), BioExigence (Besançon), Med’Inn Pharma (Besançon), EFS (Besançon), FEMTO-ST (Besançon), UMR 1098 (Besançon), FEMTO Engineering (Besançon), CIC-IT (Besançon)

Advanced Therapy Medical Products (ATMPs) recently emerged in order to provide new therapy solutions for patients in therapeutic impasse or for new therapies. These ATMPs rely on the use of “drug cells” exhibiting new physiological functions, biological characteristics or reconstitution properties directly inspired from natural processes occurring in the human organism. However, fabricating these products implies using complex technologies of cell sorting, amplification, gene transduction, division and/or activation. These requirements should be met throughout the fabrication process in specific clean-room like facilities. Due to these fabrication constraints, producing such ATMPs is extremely expensive. For an easier access to ATMPs, a new production concept is required. The MiMédi project aims at proposing such new fabrication concepts (MiMédi: French acronym for “Microtechniques pour les médicaments innovants”). The goal is to associate competences in microfabrication (microfluidics, acoustics, optics, automation, micro and nano technologies) and know-how in tomorrow’s personalized medicine in a freestanding enclosure which can be placed at the patient’s bed. In that framework we will propose highly selective and compact cell sorters.

ANR PRC Origabot - Origami-based structures for multi-modal Robots 2018-2022

Partners: ISM (Marseille), ICube (Strasbourg)

The aim of the OrigaBot project is precisely to develop a brand-new class of reconfigurable origami-based structures for the design of multi-modal locomotion robots. The OrigaBot will feature a morphing frame enabling it to change its span and perform both terrestrial and aerial locomotion efficiently. Combining ground and aerial locomotion constitutes a smart energetic trade-off for navigating in a cluttered environment and saving energy. In response to the urgent need for robust robots that can be used in field missions, the OrigaBot project provides a unique opportunity for developing remotely piloted multi-modal terrestrial and aerial robots with an innovative actuated origami that can fold up on the spot.

OrigaBot will owe its outstanding performances to novel modelling, cutting-edge fabrication and optimized-embedded actuation methods for origami-based structures. It will be endowed with micro-actuators embedded in its structure and small propellers. The main role of the micro-actuators will be to ensure the configuration change (morphing) of OrigaBot. The OrigaBot project is at the interface between several fields of research including mechanics, electronics, material science and robotics. Origami-based robotics is at the same stage as artists, mathematicians and physicians were about 50 years ago when they were trying to push the limits of geometry replication with origami patterns. The OrigaBot will therefore be at the same time a proof-of-concept prototype for a new class of multi-modal mobile robots with reconfigurable compliant structures, and a breakthrough in the use of origami robotics for creating new systems with morphing ability. The OrigaBot project is the first project which ambitions to design, model, fabricate, and demonstrate actuated morphing structures on a large scale including the control of their stiffness.

More information on the project website.

ANR PRC µRoCS - MicroRobot-assisted Cholesteatoma Surgery 2017 -2021

Partners: CHRU (Besançon), INSERM Rehabilitation Chirurgicale Mini-Invasive Robotisée de l'Audition (Paris), ISIR (Paris)

This project is part of the Challenge 4 – Life, Health and Well-being of the ANR call. It will focus in a surgical protocol breakthrough for the middle ear diseases through basic research in robotics, microrobotics, differential diagnosis methods, and image-guided interventions, following a cross-disciplinary approach.
The objectives of µRoCS are the drastic reduction of recurrence (50% to 10%) and of aggressive wall-down procedures (the most commonly used procedure). Therefore, this project proposes a novel integrated robotic system that will exhaustively and efficiently remove the cholesteatoma, especially in the hardly accessible area located behind the mastoid bone (epitympanic cavity). Ideally, the proposed system will travel through the ear canal, and enter the middle ear by a small incision below the eardrum and/or via a small access tunnel drilled through the mastoid bone.

The proposed surgical tool (used to remove the cholesteatoma) will consist of a flexible microrobot (based on a continuum kinematic and less than 2mm in diameter) able to reach any part of the middle ear thanks to a high bending radius of its distal end. The specificity of this novel system is a free channel through which the surgeon can pass either a fiber-based imaging system and a surgical laser. Furthermore, the microrobotic system and the multimodal diagnosis system will be integrated (macro-micro approach) into the otologic robotic system robOtol (marked CE in 2016) for preclinical experimentations.

ANR PRCI project CoDiCell- Controlled dielectrophoresis in microfluidics: application to cell sorting - 2018-2021

Partners: FEMTO-ST (France), ISIR (France), EFS (France), EPFL (Switzerland)

The ambition of the CoDiCell project is to develop innovative methodologies for the trajectory control of large populations of biological cells inside fluidic chips at high speed. It proposes to combine the approaches coming from the microfluidics and the microrobotics communities. Microfluidic chips ensure fast and long range displacements of large population of cells while microrobotics develops precise control of the trajectory of individual cells. The aim of the CoDiCell project is to develop basic scientific knowledge to perform precise trajectory control of individual cells for large scale populations at high speed. This project paves the way to adoptive cell therapy (ACT) for anticancer treatments. This innovative and highly personalized technique is based on the cloning of naturally occurring tumor-reactive lymphocytes. However, in most cases, this treatment must face a major challenge: the identification of these rare natural lymphocytes having a concentration lower than 0.1%, which is beyond the detection level of current techniques. CoDiCell aims at providing this high sorting selectivity. 

More information on the ANR website and on the project website


ANR PRCE COLAMIR - Collaborative Agile Miniaturized Robotics for ultra-precise assembly 2016-2020

COLAMIR project tackles the merging issue of human and robot capabilities in the field of micro manufacturing. The project consortium combines leaders in the field of robotic micro manipulation and micro manufacturing innovative SMEs. Microrobotics group at ISIR is a well-known research team in the field of human robot interaction at the microscale, with a strong research novelty in the field of haptic interface (e.g. ERC Proof Of Concept in 2015). The FEMTO-ST institute has a long and fruitful research feedback on tweezer for robotic micromanipulation, and a strong involvement in sensors integration and control at the microscale. PERCIPIO ROBOTICS is a startup company successfully working since 5 years in the field of high precision robotics for micro manufacturing with strong customer references in the field. AUREA TECHNOLOGY is a young company, all over the world well-known for their ultra-precise photon counter, using an innovative hand-assembled micro photonic device. Concrete industrial micro-assembly cases will be brought in order to develop and integrate a new brand collaborative robotic.
To deal with tweezers manipulation issues widely spread in micro manufacturing assembly, collaborative robotics will be developed in COLAMIR through scientific and technologic devices and software. Micro manipulation will be strongly improved by building a new micro tactile sense thanks to designed multi degrees of freedom force sensors, specific control scheme and an innovative mechatronics haptic interface. Human robot collaboration will also be strongly facilitated by dedicated software interfaces and high level switching control scheme. Operators testing this new approach on concrete industrial cases are one of the strength of COLAMIR. The main COLAMIR objective is to show to operators and SMEs entrepreneurs that the collaborative robotics is the key to improve the robots equipment in micro manufacturing SMEs. The ground breaking path opened by COLAMIR should be used in a wide range of manufacturing fields where flexibility is a clear asset but where robotization is still a challenge for many SMEs.

More information on the website of the project


Robotic Nanofactory (2017-2020)

The Robotic NANOFACTORY project aims at developing a new generation of nanorobot able to achieve highly performing tasks with high repeatability for nanoscale characterization, prototyping of novel nanotechnologies up to the manufacturing of new hybrid or assembled nanodevices.

Funding: I-SITE BFC (Initiatives-Science – Innovation –Territories – Economy) of the Burgundy - Franche-Comté University


Past projects

ANR project LEMA - Microcomponents Assembly in Liquid Environment - 2012-2016 

Partners : FEMTO-ST (Besançon), ISIR (Paris), LOF (Bordeaux)

This project deals with micro-assembly in the mesoscale, situated between micro and nanoscales, which comprises objects whose dimensions are from 100nm to 10µm. It addresses several scientific problematics, in the domains of microfluidics, micro-nanorobotics and nanojoining. This topic presents an applicative interest for the next generation of nanotechnological components. From a scientific point of view, mesoscale represents a paradigm in assembly methods: it is situated between nanoscale and microscale assembly, which are two completely different processes. On the one hand, self-assemblies (chemical reactions) have been used for decades to build assembled nanocomponents where positioning and joining are driven by the same physical effect (e.g. covalent forces). On the other hand, microassembly in industry is mainly based on robotic handling, positioning and gluing. Mesoscale represents a crossroad between these two approaches, where further studies are required to provide ad-hoc solutions on positioning and joining. We propose to study some hybrid approaches based on directed self-assembly. They combine physical effects (non-contact forces) usually used in self-assembly, and active trajectory control from robotics. 

More information here


Nano-ROBOPTIC: "Robotized Nano-Assembly of photonic devices" (2015-18)

The objective of this project is to developp gripping and assembly strategies to fabricate photonic devices using commercially available micropositionning robots. Works notably focuss on the handling, positioning and assembly of nano-lamella based photonic devices targeting the highest positioning accuracy.

Funding: Franche-Comté région