Micro Assembly Using Magnetic Robots

This is truly an age of wonders.

One of the most amazing tech frontiers is the field of “micro assembly”, directly manipulating small particles, molecules, and ultimately atoms, to construct structures at the micrometer scale.

If you let me manipulate individual molecules, I can perform black magic!

Vijay Kumar and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania released an awesome video, illustrating “Directed Micro Assembly of Passive Particles at Fluid Interfaces Using Magnetic Robots”.

Their “robots” are tiny magnets, which are steered by precise adjustment of electromagnets (the general idea is described in this paper: [1]). With a microscope, the operator can “drive” the robots to “grab” particles, and move them around.

This particular video doesn’t show them building anything specific, but it is easy to imagine building tiny micro structures, machines, manipulating cells and DNA, and so on. Wow!

Give me a place to stand and a lever, and I will move the Earth.

Give me some micromagnets, and the ability to drive them around, and I will make anything I want.


  1. D. Wong, E. B. Steager, and V. Kumar, Independent Control of Identical Magnetic Robots in a Plane. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, PP (99):1-1, 2016.


Robot Wednesday

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