Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics

, Volume 10, Issue 1–4, pp 37–53 | Cite as

Intuitive control of self-propelled microjets with haptic feedback

  • Claudio PacchierottiEmail author
  • Veronika Magdanz
  • Mariana Medina-Sánchez
  • Oliver G. Schmidt
  • Domenico Prattichizzo
  • Sarthak Misra
Research Paper


Self-propelled microrobots have recently shown promising results in several scenarios at the microscale, such as targeted drug delivery and micromanipulation of cells. However, none of the steering systems available in the literature enable humans to intuitively and effectively control these microrobots in the remote environment, which is a desirable feature. In this paper we present an innovative teleoperation system with force reflection that enables a human operator to intuitively control the positioning of a self-propelled microjet. A particle-filter-based visual tracking algorithm tracks at runtime the position of the microjet in the remote environment. A 6-degrees-of-freedom haptic interface then provides the human operator with compelling haptic feedback about the interaction between the controlled microjet and the environment, as well as enabling the operator to intuitively control the target position of the microjet. Finally, a wireless magnetic control system regulates the orientation of the microjet to reach the target point. The viability of the proposed approach is demonstrated through two experimentsz enrolling twenty-eight subjects. In both experiments providing haptic feedback significantly improved the performance and the perceived realism of the considered tasks.


Microtechnology Haptics Teleoperation Actuators Robotics 



The authors thank Alonso Sanchez for his help in setting up the tracking and control systems, and Frank van den Brink and Momen Abayazid for their help in making the video.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Advanced RoboticsIstituto Italiano di TecnologiaGenovaItaly
  2. 2.Institute for Integrative NanosciencesIFW DresdenDresdenGermany
  3. 3.Material Systems for NanoelectronicsUniversity of Technology ChemnitzChemnitzGermany
  4. 4.Department of Information Engineering and MathematicsUniversity of SienaSienaItaly
  5. 5.Surgical Robotics Laboratory, Department of Biomechanical EngineeringMIRA - Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine, University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of Groningen and University Medical Centre GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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