Robotics: Science and Systems XV

Collective Formation and Cooperative Function of a Magnetic Microrobotic Swarm

Xiaoguang Dong, Metin Sitti


Untethered magnetically actuated microrobots can access distant, enclosed and small spaces, such as inside microfluidic channels and the human body, making them appealing for minimal invasive tasks. Despite the simplicity of individual magnetic microrobots, a collective of these microrobots that can work closely and cooperatively would significantly enhance their capabilities. However, a challenge of realizing such collective magnetic microrobots is to coordinate their formations and motions with under-actuated control signals. Here, we report a method that allows collective magnetic microrobots working closely and cooperatively by controlling their two-dimensional (2D) formations and collective motions in a programmable and reconfigurable manner. The actively designed formation and intrinsic adjustable compliance within the group allow bio-inspired collective behaviors, such as navigating through cluttered environments and reconfigurable cooperative manipulation ability. These collective magnetic microrobots thus could enable potential applications in programmable self-assembly, modular robotics, swarm systems, and biomedicine.



    AUTHOR    = {Xiaoguang Dong AND Metin Sitti}, 
    TITLE     = {Collective Formation and Cooperative Function of a Magnetic Microrobotic Swarm}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2019}, 
    ADDRESS   = {FreiburgimBreisgau, Germany}, 
    MONTH     = {June}, 
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2019.XV.007}