Self-propelled microrobots have recently shown promising results in several scenarios at the microscale, such as targeted drug delivery and micromanipulation of cells. However, none of the steering systems available in the literature enable humans to intuitively and effectively control these microrobots in the remote environment, which is a desirable feature. In this paper we present an innovative teleoperation system with force reflection that enables a human operator to intuitively control the positioning of a self-propelled microjet. A particle-filter-based visual tracking algorithm tracks at runtime the position of the microjet in the remote environment. A 6-degrees-of-freedom haptic interface then provides the human operator with compelling haptic feedback about the interaction between the controlled microjet and the environment, as well as enabling the operator to intuitively control the target position of the microjet. Finally, a wireless magnetic control system regulates the orientation of the microjet to reach the target point. The viability of the proposed approach is demonstrated through two experimentsz enrolling twenty-eight subjects. In both experiments providing haptic feedback significantly improved the performance and the perceived realism of the considered tasks.
Pacchierotti, C., Magdanz, V., Medina-Sanchez, M., Schmidt, O. G., Prattichizzo, D., & Misra, S. (2015). Intuitive control of self-propelled microjets with haptic feedback. Journal of micro-bio robotics, 10(1-4), 37-53. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12213-015-0082-7