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There are many examples of minimally invasive surgery in which tethered robots are incapable of accurately reaching target locations deep inside the body either because they are too large and so cause tissue damage or because the tortuosity of the path leads to loss of tip control. In these situations, small untethered magnetically-powered robots may hold the potential to act as delivery vehicles for therapeutic agents. While MRI scanners provide a means to power, control and image such robots as they move throughout the body, a substantial challenge arises if the clinical application requires more than one such robot. The resulting system is underactuated and thus its controllability is in question. This paper presents a simple motion planning algorithm for two magnetic capsules and demonstrates through simulation and experiment that nonlinear fluid damping can be exploited to independently control the positions of the capsules.
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