Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics

, Volume 14, Issue 1–2, pp 1–16 | Cite as

Diamagnetically levitated Milli-robots for heterogeneous 3D assembly

  • Allen Hsu
  • William Chu
  • Cregg Cowan
  • Brian McCoy
  • Annjoe Wong-Foy
  • Ron Pelrine
  • Joseph Lake
  • Joshua Ballard
  • John Randall
Research Paper


In this article, we demonstrate diamagnetically levitated milli-robots performing 3D heterogeneous micro-assembly of silicon micro-machined parts and polymer microspheres. Diamagnetically levitated milli-robots, in conjunction with controlled magnetic fields from printed circuit boards, can enable very precise, low cost, high density, and an easily scalable approach to massively parallel micro-assembly. By using an eddy-current dampening layer to suppress ambient external forces, we measured an open-loop in-plane equilibrium motion repeatability of 28.6 nm rms over cm’s of travel and a total vertical range of 50–70 μm. To perform micro-assembly, light-weight end effectors and force compatible micro-processes (i.e. micro-grasping and liquid handling) were integrated with the diamagnetic levitated milli-robots. Various tele-operated micro-assembly tasks were demonstrated such as joining polymer micro-spheres, interlocking silicon micro-parts, and printing electrical interconnects. Multiple specialized milli-robots, each taking up only 31 mm2, are used to perform each individual micro-task. In the future, by developing more sophisticated milli-robots and operating many more of these milli-robots in parallel, a dense, automated, rapid milli-robot assembly may be possible.


Automation Diamagnetism Micro-assembly Micro-robots Pick and place 



The authors gratefully acknowledge funding support for this work from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) under AFRL Contract #FA8650-15-C-7547. The views, opinions and/or findings expressed are those of the author and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. HF Vapor release and two-photon lithography was performed in part in the nano@Stanford labs, which are supported by the National Science Foundation as part of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure under award ECCS-1542152.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Advanced Technology and Systems DivisionSRI InternationalMenlo ParkUSA
  2. 2.Zyvex LabsRichardsonUSA

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