Dexterous manipulation in the micro-world is a challenging problem due to the limitations in sensing and actuations at the micro-scale. Unlike human hands or multi-fingered robot hands in the macro-world which can manipulate any object easily and skillfully, current micro-manipulators can only be used for very simple and limited manipulation tasks.
This technology offer enables dexterous manipulation tasks on objects of arbitrary types (materials, shapes, sizes) in the micro-world, which can function as a similar role as a human hand or multi-fingered robot hand in the macro-world.
Lasers are used to drive micro-scale fingers; these fingers are then used to manipulate micro-objects. The usage of laser-driven fingers for manipulation of micro-objects can solve existing problems and limitations in current micro-manipulation techniques.
Firstly, it is able to adapt to variations of the target micro-objects (materials, shapes).
Secondly, as each laser-driven finger has three degrees of freedom, a system of coordinated fingers is thus able to perform dexterous or skillful manipulation tasks in the micro-world, including grasping, rotating, or even rolling or pinching of micro-objects.
Thirdly, as the fingers can be manufactured to be arbitrarily small, dexterous manipulation of micro-objects of relatively small sizes (few micro-meters or less) can also be performed.
The technology enables dexterous manipulation of arbitrary objects in the micro-world. The primary applications include micro-assembly, micro-manipulation, integrated circuit fabrication or micro-fabrication, biological applications and clinical diagnosis.
The laser-driven fingers conceived are effective, easy to use and integrate into a micro-manipulation system. The usage of laser-driven fingers allows the precise, productive, and reliable manipulation of arbitrary objects (materials, shapes, sizes) in the micro-world.