2017 ~ Present | National Institutes of Health



Design and implementation of hardware, microfabrication, and various control systems for sub-millimeter-sized microrobots.

Issues Involved or Addressed

Our research group has developed optically controlled microrobots, which are tetherless sub-millimeter actuators. Light is used to heat the surface beneath the microrobots, and the resulting thermal gradient generates an actuation force. The microrobots can be used to move around objects that are less than a millimeter in size. These microrobots can be used to pattern cells in specific locations, which enables studies on cell-to-cell communications, and can give insight into treating various diseases. In addition, by controlling the locations of cell growth, it is possible to use this microrobot system to help grow functional tissues and organs in the laboratory. By accomplishing this goal, this project could help to find new disease treatments, new drugs, and improve public health. Videos of the UH microrobots in action can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/mnmlab

Methods and Technologies

  • microfabrication
  • microfluidics
  • microscopy
  • optical systems
  • image processing
  • computer vision
  • path planning
  • feedback control systems

Academic Majors of Interest

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Biological Engineering

Preferred Interests and Preparation

EE, ME: Interest in microfabrication, microfluidics, optical systems

EE, CEng: Background/interest in programming, image processing, computer vision, control systems

BioE: Background/interest in cell manipulation


National Institutes of Health

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