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Synthetic and Bio-hybrid Untethered Mobile Microrobots

Synthetic and Bio-hybrid Untethered Mobile Microrobots

Datum: 9. Februar 2017 16:00

Ort: Allmandring 3, Seminarraum 1.079

Veranstalter: ICP

Synthetic and Bio-hybrid Untethered Mobile Microrobots

Metin Sitti, MPI IS Stuttgart

Untethered mobile microrobots have the unique capability of accessing to small spaces and scales directly. Due to their small size and micron-scale physics and dynamics, they could be agile and portable, and could be inexpensive and in large numbers if they are mass-produced. Mobile microrobots would have high impact applications in health-care, bioengineering, mobile sensor networks, desktop micromanufacturing, and inspection. In this presentation, synthetic and bio-hybrid mobile microrobots from few micrometers up to hundreds of micrometer overall sizes and various locomotion capabilities are presented. Going down to micron scale, one of the grand challenges for mobile microrobots is miniaturization limitation on on-board actuation, powering, sensing, processing, and communication components. Two alternative approaches are explored in this talk to solve the actuation and powering challenges. First, biological cells, e.g. bacteria, attached to the surface of a synthetic microrobot are used as on-board microactuators and microsensors using the chemical energy inside or outside the cell in physiological fluids. Bacteria-propelled microswimmers are steered using chemical and pH gradients in the environment and remote magnetic fields towards future targeted drug delivery and environmental remediation applications. As the second approach, external actuation of untethered magnetic microrobots using remote magnetic fields in enclosed spaces is demonstrated. New magnetic microrobot locomotion principles based on rotational stick-slip and rolling dynamics are proposed. Novel magnetic composite materials are used to address and control teams of microrobots. Such untethered microrobot teams are demonstrated to manipulate live cells and microgels with embedded cells for bioengineering applications, and to self-assemble into different patterns with remote magnetic control.

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