NIST Mobile Microrobotics Challenge 2012

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We are looking for a good student(s) who will join our research team in participation in the NIST Mobile Microrobotics Challenge 2012 which takes place during 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, May 14-18, 2012.

All robots entered in the competition must be no bigger than 600 micrometers in their largest dimension and must be able to operate without the direct connection of wires (i.e., untethered operation.) The competition will consist of two events structured to test each microrobot’s speed, agility, and ability to manipulate small objects. Mobility Challenge: Microrobots are required to navigate a planar maze in the shape of a figure eight. Microassembly Challenge: Microrobots must assemble multiple microscale components inside a narrow channel. This task simulates anticipated applications of microassembly, including manipulation within a human blood vessel and the assembly of components in nanomanufacturing. Multiple cooperating microrobots will be allowed.

Our team has been conducting research in the area of planar micromanipulation using dielectrophoresis. It consists in shaping the (gradient of) electric field by applying voltages to properly designed microelectrodes. We feel that our recent desing of a microelectrode array and some control strategies fit perfectly into the scope of this competition. 

The interested student should enjoy competitions, should have some interest in physics and experimental work in notraditional physics and microsystems related domains. The competition takes place in a few months, therefore it is vital to start as soon as possible. The scope of such collaboration can be negotiated. Every little help with the project will be appreciated. Even minor participation in the preparation for this competition will make it easier to participate fully for the next year competion, so do not be afraid to contact us even you feel unsure about the depth and volume of the work. We will certainly tailor our collaboration to your convenience.

In case of succesful research and development, we will do our best to bring the whole team to the place of the final competition - St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, in May 2012.

Contact person: 
Zdeněk Hurák
Contact person: 
Jiří Zemánek
Image: Arena for mobility challenge (figure eight trajectory)
Image: Arena for microassembly challenge
Image: St. Paul in Minnesota, USA