Human-assisted virtual reality for a magnetic-haptic micromanipulation platform


This paper deals with the development of a virtual reality interface (VRI) for a magnetic-haptic micromanipulation platform (MHMP) (Mehrtash et al. in IEEE/ASME Trans Mechatron 16(3):459–469, 2011). Our previously developed MHMP has shown a great deal of promise in non-contact micromanipulations. This micromanipulation platform concerns the integration of magnetic actuation technology and a bilateral macro–micro teleoperation. The MHMP has two separate stations: one magnetic microrobotic station and one haptic. The magnetic microrobotic station manipulates micro-sized objects based on the commands from the haptic station. The haptic station uses bilateral communication with the magnetic microrobotic station to allow a human operator the feeling of a micro-domain environment. In this paper, we report a VRI that enables human operators to improve their skills in using the MHMP, before carrying out an actual dexterous task. The VRI is made up of three main components: a haptic station, a simulation engine, and a display unit. The haptic station provides the operator with the force/torque information from virtual or remote environments, and is also used to recognize the operator’s hand motion command. Dynamical computation and control system modeling have been carried out on the simulation engine. Based on the real-time computation, this engine, as the heart of the system, provides force applied to the operator’s hand and the microrobot’s position for the haptic station and the display unit, respectively. The display unit employs 3D computer graphics to demonstrate the micromanipulation tasks and environments. The VRI is also developed in such a way that it can be separately used in parallel with the MHMP for the 3D visualization of a real task by providing multiple virtual viewports. This paper introduces the configuration of the proposed VRI, and reports the result of a preliminary experiment using micromanipulation investigation for validation.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for financial support.

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Correspondence to Mir Behrad Khamesee.

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Mehrtash, M., Khamesee, M.B., Tarao, S. et al. Human-assisted virtual reality for a magnetic-haptic micromanipulation platform. Microsyst Technol 18, 1407–1415 (2012).

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  • Permanent Magnet
  • External Magnetic Field
  • Magnetic Force
  • Haptic Device
  • Simulation Engine