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Programmable collective behavior in dynamically self-assembled mobile microrobotic swarms




Collective control of mobile microrobotic swarms is indispensable for their potential high-impact applications in targeted drug delivery, medical diagnostics, parallel micromanipulation, and environmental sensing and remediation. Lack of on-board computational and sensing capabilities in current microrobotic systems necessitates use of physical interactions among individual microrobots for local physical communication and cooperation. Here, we show that mobile microrobotic swarms with well-defined collective behavior can be designed by engineering magnetic interactions among individual units. Microrobots, consisting of a linear chain of self-assembled magnetic microparticles, locomote on surfaces in response to a precessing magnetic field. Control over the direction of precessing magnetic field allows engineering attractive and repulsive interactions among microrobots and, thus, collective order with well-defined spatial organization and parallel operation over macroscale distances (~ 1 cm). These microrobotic swarms can be guided through confined spaces, while preserving microrobot morphology and function. These swarms can further achieve directional transport of large cargoes on surfaces and small cargoes in bulk fluids. Described design approach, exploiting physical interactions among individual robots, enables facile and rapid formation of self-organized and reconfigurable microrobotic swarms with programmable collective order.

Author(s): B Yigit, and Y Alapan, and M Sitti
Journal: Advanced Science
Year: 2018
Month: July

Department(s): Physical Intelligence
Bibtex Type: Article (article)
Paper Type: Journal

URL: https://arxiv.org/abs/1807.09702


  title = { Programmable collective behavior in dynamically self-assembled mobile microrobotic swarms},
  author = {Yigit, B and Alapan, Y and Sitti, M},
  journal = {Advanced Science},
  month = jul,
  year = {2018},
  url = {https://arxiv.org/abs/1807.09702},
  month_numeric = {7}