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Microscale Tentacle Actuator
Category(s):
For Information, Contact:
Jay Bjerke
Commercialization Manager, Engineering
515-294-4740
licensing@iastate.edu
Web Published:
12/7/2015
ISURF #
4387
Development Stage:
Description:
ISU researchers have invented a soft material-based manipulator for delicate, fragile microscale objects. It is based on a thin-walled elastomeric microtube with an asymmetric wall thickness distribution and one end closed. Upon applying air pressure from the open end, the microtube becomes elongated non-uniformly, bending towards the thick-walled side. This type of bending, however, is often insufficient to induce a spiraling which mimics the coiling motion of biological tentacles, such as those of the octopus. To amplify the bending into multi-turn spiraling, we installed a small extra thickness (i.e., hump) to the exterior of the microtube. When the size and position of the hump were adequate, the microtube could accomplish multi-tum spiraling which is ideal for winding around small objects and scoop them up. This type of conformal spiraling motion is non-destructive since it does not involve squeezing and will be useful for safe handling of cell aggregates, eggs, or biological tissues that are highly fragile.

Advantage:
• Can handle soft, fragile micro-objects that is not offered today
• Capable of grabbing objects as small as ~ 185 µM with a grabbing force of ~ 0.78 mN
• Unique fabrication techniques of the thin, highly deformable microtubes

Application:
Biological microelectromechanical systems (bio-MEMS)

References:
Patent Information:
*To see the full version of the patent(s), follow the link below, then click on "Images" button.

Patent:
Patent(s) applied for

Direct Link: