Mechanical Engineering Seminar


Shape-Morphable Magnetic Miniature Robots: from Single to Swarm


Dr. Xiaoguang Dong


Vanderbilt University


Friday, April 15, 2022 at 2:00:00 PM   


MRDC Building, Room 3403


Professor Ye Zhao


Abstract: Wireless miniature robots with a total size less than one centimeter could revolutionize minimally invasive medical operations by allowing access to enclosed small spaces inside the human body and performing medical operations such as drug delivery, onsite biofluid pumping, and biopsy. However, when the robot sizes further scale down, their functions are significantly limited by the simple structure, low body volume, and small work capacity. To tackle these challenges, this talk will highlight our recent works on developing wirelessly actuated shape-morphable magnetic miniature robots with enhanced functionalities enabled by soft-body deformation and swarm cooperation, including 1) magnetically actuated miniature soft robots inspired by biological cilia for efficient fluid pumping, 2) millimeter-scale soft robots which can climb soft and wet tissue surfaces and perform local drug delivery, as well as 3) swarm magnetic microrobots with programmable formations and cooperative manipulation functions. This talk will also discuss our vision of developing shape-morphable wirelessly actuated miniature robots in general to enable unprecedented critical application in minimally invasive biomedicine, lab- or organ-on-a-chip, microfluidics, and biomechanics.


Biography: Dr. Xiaoguang Dong is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and a core member of the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering at Vanderbilt University, US. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Mechanical Engineering (specialized in Robotics) at Carnegie Mellon University in 2019. Before joining Vanderbilt University, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, Germany. His group is working on the computational design, advanced fabrication, and intelligent control of novel functional miniature mechanism, devices, and robots, as well as the development of their wireless actuation, control, and sensing systems, aiming at resolving challenging technical and societal problems in health care, environmental exploration, and other critical areas.


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