MagNeed - Needle-Shaped Electromagnets for Localized Actuation Within Compact Workspaces

Juan J. Huaroto*, Michiel Richter, Mafalda Malafaia, Jayoung Kim, Chang Sei Kim, Jong Oh Park, Jakub Sikorski, Sarthak Misra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Electromagnetic actuation of micro-/milli-sized agents has traditionally relied on large electromagnets positioned at considerable distances from the agents. As a result, the electromagnets consume kilowatts of power to overcome the limited generation of magnetic field gradients. Miniaturized electromagnets offer an alternative approach for reducing power consumption via localized actuation of micro-/milli-sized agents. Typically, the generation of magnetic field gradients in the vicinity of a miniaturized electromagnet is comparable with traditional electromagnetic actuation systems. Miniaturized electromagnets can be positioned near target sites in microfluidic channels or ex vivo vasculatures. Thereby, localized trapping and actuation of magnetic micro-/milli-sized agents are carried out. This study introduces MagNeed - an electromagnetic actuation system composed of three needle-shaped electromagnets (NSEs). MagNeed can determine compact workspaces by positioning the NSEs at different spatial configurations. Each NSE generates magnetic field gradients (up to 3.5 T/m at 5 mm from the NSE tip axis) while keeping a maximum power consumption (0.5 W) and temperature (< 42°C). MagNeed is complemented by a framework that reconstructs the pose of the NSEs. Experiments test MagNeed and framework on a transparent Teflon tube (5 mm inner diameter). MagNeed demonstrates localized trapping and actuation of a 1 mm NdFeB bead against a flow of water and silica gel particles (1-3 mm diameter).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3907-3914
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and automation letters
Issue number6
Early online date8 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • Automation at micro-nano scales
  • Micro/nano robots


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