IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2019 workshop

Progress Toward Automated Micro-Bio-Nano Factories Through Robotic Manipulation

Examples of micro/nano robotic manipulation


Prof. Ashis Banerjee                     Prof. Eric Diller                          Prof. Dan Popa                           Prof. Kaiyan Yu
University of Washington           University of Toronto               University of Louisville            Binghamton University, State University of New York                   


One of the grand challenges in micro/nano robotics has been to develop automated systems that are capable of precisely and reliably manipulating a large number of objects in parallel. Parallel manipulation capabilities will address production challenges associated with handling massive numbers of miniaturized components, and lead to the realization of small-scale factories. In such production systems, micro and nano-scale components of varying shapes and materials can be assembled together to create functional M(O)EMS and N(O)EMS devices or biological structures such as tissue constructs and tumor models. While a number of micro and nano manipulation techniques have been introduced over the past couple of decades, automation has been mostly restricted to moving a limited number of components in small workspace volumes with severe constraints along the vertical direction. This workshop aims to bring together researchers across the world to discuss their latest works in overcoming this automation barrier and realize scalable assembly of heterogeneous micro/nano components in three dimensions (3D). Our workshop is anticipated to spur cross-pollination of ideas with the broad robotics and automation community, and enhance collaborations with micro-bio-nano systems, materials science, manufacturing, micro/nano fluidics, and applied physics researchers to propel scientific progress in this direction.


Micro and nano manipulation techniques can be broadly categorized into four types: contact-based such as micro/nano grippers, AFMs, and SEMs; fluid flow-based; external force field-based such as acoustic, dielectrophoretic, magnetic, and optical; and hybrid such as optoelectronic and thermocapillary. Manipulation may happen in either dry or wet environments, on standard or patterned substrates. Regardless of the operating environment, actuation, and sensing modalities, all the techniques encounter a similar set of modeling, computation, and instrumentation challenges in realizing scalable manipulation. These challenges include the ability to grasp and move a versatile range of regular or irregular-shaped, deformable or rigid, living or engineered objects without causing damages; achieve rapid (several Hz) local actuation rates; reconstruct workspace volumes in real time; deal with stochastic, non-linear, and coupled system dynamics; and ensure extremely fast coordinated planning and control. The workshop presentations will, therefore, focus on the state of the art research in addressing these challenges.

The covered topics will include, but not be limited to:

  • Acoustic, electrical, magnetic, and optical micro and nano manipulation
  • Micro and nano fluidic manipulation
  • Micro and nano grippers
  • AFM and SEM-based nano manipulation
  • Hybrid modes of micro and nano manipulation such as optoelectronic and thermocapillary
  • Design and fabrication of micro and nano patterned substrates
  • Manipulation of biological objects such as live cells, liposomes, and tissue patches
  • Heterogeneous micro and nano assemblies, particularly for M(O)EMS and N(O)EMS devices
  • Dynamics modeling of micro-bio-nano systems
  • Perception, planning, and control of multiple micro and nano robots
  • Multi-robot grasping of micro and nano-scale objects
  • Date and Venue

    May 23, 2019, in Room 520a at the Palais des congrès de Montréal


    8:30 am     Opening Remarks

    8:50 am     Dr. Veronica Iacovacci and Prof. Arianna Menciassi   (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy)
                      Keynote:   Magnetic Solutions for Collective Manipulation in Biomedical Applications  [Summary]

    9:20 am     Prof. David Cappelleri   (Purdue University, USA)
                      Local Magnetic Field Design, Characterization, and Path Planning for Independent Control of Multiple Mobile Microrobots  [Summary]

    9:40 am     Prof. Eric Diller   (University of Toronto, Canada)
                      Magneto-Acoustic Micro-Manipulation for Precision Microfactories  [Summary]

    10:00 am     Morning Coffee Break

    10:30 am   Prof. Qingze Zou   (Rutgers University, USA)
                      Keynote:   Learning-based Trajectory Tracking and Precision Positioning for High-Speed Micro/Nano-Manipulation  [Summary]

    11:00 am   Prof. Sinan Haliyo   (Sorbonne University, France)
                      Haptic Microscopy: Human Interaction for Microrobotics  [Summary]

    11:20 am   Prof. Cédric Clévy   (University de Franché-Comté, France)
                      Automated Robotic Micro-Assembly for Integrated Optics  [Summary]

    11:40 am   Prof. Kenn Oldham   (University of Michigan, USA)
                      Using Dynamics to Extend Micro-Robot Capabilities  [Summary]

    12:00 pm   Mr. Ruoshi Zhang, Dr. Andriy Sherehiy, and Prof. Dan Popa   (University of Louisville, USA)
                      Wafer-scale Microfactories with Assembled MEMS Microrobots for Nanotechnology Applications  [Summary]

    12:20 pm   Lunch Break

    1:30 pm     Prof. James Mills   (University of Toronto, Canada)
                      Keynote:   Micro-Scale Biological Task Automation  [Summary]

    2:00 pm     Prof. Quan Zhou   (Aalto University, Finland)
                      Acoustic Manipulation and Assembly of Many Particles  [Summary]

    2:20 pm     Prof. Agung Julius   (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)
                      Motion Control of Cellular Robots  [Summary]

    2:40 pm     Prof. Ashis Banerjee   (University of Washington, USA)
                      Concurrent Optical Manipulation of a Large Number of Objects  [Summary]

    3:00 pm     Afternoon Coffee Break

    3:30 pm     Panel Discussion

    4:00 pm     Prof. Reza Moheimani   (University of Texas at Dallas, USA)
                      Keynote:   Atomically Precise Manufacturing: Control and Automation on the Atomic Scale  [Summary]

    4:30 pm     Dr. Malte Bartenwerfer and Prof. Sergej Fatikow   (University of Oldenburg, Germany)
                      Challenges of Automation in SEM-based Assembly and Fabrication at the Nanoscale  [Summary]

    4:50 pm     Prof. Bahareh Behkam   (Virginia Tech, USA)
                      Engineering Bacteria-Enabled Autonomous Systems for Parallel Manipulation of Nanoscale Objects  [Summary]

    5:10 pm     Prof. Kaiyan Yu   (Binghamton University, State University of New York, USA)
                      Motion Control, Planning and Manipulation of Nanowires under Electric-Fields in Fluid Suspension with Applications in Nanodevice Fabrication

    5:30 pm     Concluding Remarks

    Related Journal Special Issues

    Please consider submitting you work to a Focused Section on Nano/Micro- Motion System: Design, Sensing and Control (NMMS) at the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics.

    Please check this space for future announcements on other related Special Issues/Sections.


    The proposed workshop is fully supported by the IEEE RAS TC on Micro / Nano Robotics and Automation.