The design and control of untethered microrobotic agents has drawn a lot of attention in recent years. This technology truly possesses the potential to revolutionize the field of minimally invasive surgery and microassembly. However, miniaturization and reliable actuation of micro-fabricated grippers are still challenging at sub-millimeter scale. In this study, we design, manufacture, characterize, and control four similarly-structured semi-rigid thermoresponsive micro-grippers. Furthermore, we develop a closed loop-control algorithm to demonstrate and compare the performance of the said grippers when moving in hard-to-reach and unpredictable environments. Finally, we analyze the grasping characteristics of three of the presented designs. Overall, not only does the study demonstrate motion control in unstructured dynamic environments—at velocities up to 3.4, 2.9, 3.3, and 1 body-lengths/s with 980, 750, 250, and 100 μm-sized grippers, respectively—but it also aims to provide quantitative data and considerations to help a targeted design of magnetically-controlled thin micro-grippers.
Ongaro, F., Scheggi, S., Ghosh, A., Denasi, A., Gracias, D. H., & Misra, S. (2017). Design, characterization and control of thermally-responsive and magnetically-actuated micro-grippers at the air-water interface. PLoS ONE, 12(12), [e0187441]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187441