Steering and Control of Miniaturized Untethered Soft Magnetic Grippers With Haptic Assistance

Claudio Pacchierotti, Federico Ongaro (Corresponding Author), Frank van den Brink, ChangKyu Yoon, Domenico Prattichizzo, David H. Gracias, Sarthak Misra

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    40 Citations (Scopus)
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    Untethered miniature robotics have recently shown promising results in several scenarios at the microscale, such as targeted drug delivery, microassembly, and biopsy procedures. However, the vast majority of these small-scale robots have very limited manipulation capabilities, and none of the steering systems currently available enables humans to intuitively and effectively control dexterous miniaturized robots in a remote environment. In this paper, we present an innovative microteleoperation system with haptic assistance for the intuitive steering and control of miniaturized self-folding soft magnetic grippers in 2-D space. The soft grippers can be wirelessly positioned using weak magnetic fields and opened/closed by changing their temperature. An image-guided algorithm tracks the position of the controlled miniaturized gripper in the remote environment. A haptic interface provides the human operator with compelling haptic sensations about the interaction between the gripper and the environment as well as enables the operator to intuitively control the target position and grasping configuration of the gripper. Finally, magnetic and thermal control systems regulate the position and grasping configuration of the gripper. The viability of the proposed approach is demonstrated through two experiments involving 26 human subjects. Providing haptic stimuli elicited statistically significant improvements in the performance of the considered navigation and micromanipulation tasks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7820145
    Pages (from-to)290-306
    Number of pages17
    JournalIEEE transactions on automation science and engineering
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2018


    • Grasping
    • Haptics
    • Magnetic control
    • Microteleoperation
    • Microrobotics
    • Soft robotics


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