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Description

Using large numbers of microrobots to build unique macrostructures has long been a vision in both popular and scientific media. This paper describes a new class of machines, DiaMagnetic Micro Manipulator (DM3) systems, for controlling many small robots. The robots are diamagnetically levitated with zero wear and zero hysteresis, and driven using conventional circuits. Unusual motion properties have been reported in testing these systems, including exceptional open loop repeatability of motion (200 nm rms) and relative speeds (37.5 cm/s or 217 body lengths/s) [1]. A system using 130 micro robots as small as 1.7 mm with densities up to 12.5 robots/cm2 has been demonstrated. This paper reports initial data on robot trajectories, and shows that open loop trajectory repeatabilities on the order of 0.8 micrometers rms or better are feasible in a levitated state compared with 15 micrometers rms repeatability in a non-levitated state with surface contact. These results suggest an encouraging path to complex microrobotic systems with broad capabilities.

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