Force Interaction and Sensing in Bio-micromanipulation
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Micromanipulation is considered a challenging task which requires high precision motion and measurement at the micro scale. When micromanipulation is concerned with living organisms important considerations need to be addressed. These include the physical or chemical properties of micro-organisms, living conditions, responses to the environment and achieving suitably delicate manipulation. Bio-micromanipulation can include micro surgery or cell injection operations, or to determine interaction forces as the basis to investigate behavior and properties of living micro-organisms. In order to achieve suitable bio-micromanipulation appropriate processes and/or sensory systems need to be investigated. This thesis aims to look into the force interaction and sensing addressing two distinctive challenges in the field of bio-micromanipulation. To this end, this thesis presents two major contributions to advancing bio-micromanipulation. Firstly, a novel Haptic Microrobotic Cell Injection System is introduced which is able to assist a bio-operator through haptic interaction. The system introduces a mapping framework which provides an intuitive method for the bio-operator to maneuver the micropipette in a manner similar to handheld needle insertion. To accurately control the microrobot, a neuro-fuzzy modeling and control scheme has been developed. Volumetric, axial and planar haptic virtual fixtures are introduced to guide the bio-operator during cell injection. Aside from improving real-time operator performance using the physical system, the system is novel in facilitating virtual offline operator training. Secondly, a first-of-its-kind micro-pillar based on-chip system for dynamic force measurement of C. elegans motion is introduced. The system comprises a microfabricated PDMS device to direct C. elegans into a matrix of micropillars within a channel mimicking its dwelling environment. An image processing algorithm is able to track the interaction of the C. elegans with the pillars and estimate contact forces based on micropillar deflections. The developed micropillar system is capable of measuring the force with sub-micron resolution while providing a continuous force output spectrum.