Facilities

Meso-, Micro-, and Nano-scale Manipulation Test-bed


The MSRAL houses a flexible microrobotics test-bed that is well-suited for microrobotic manipulation and assembly tasks at the nano-, micro-, and meso-scales.  The test-bed consists of an inverted optical microscope (Nikon Ti-U), automated XY stage with encoders (Nikon Ti-S-ER), CCD camera (QImaging Retigna 200R), and four computer-controlled manipulators (Sutter Instruments MPC-285) with 3 controllable degrees-of-freedom with a minimum step size of 62.5 nm.  A custom LabView-based control program is under development to allow for autonomous vision-guided control of the manipulation system.



Mobile Microrobotics Test-bed


This includes two orthogonal magnetic wire coil pairs along with a bottom coil to provide external magnetic fields. The coils surround a testing platform where the microrobot(s) resides. Computer controlled custom drive electronics modulate the coils’ operating current and voltage signals provided from a two multi-channel high current (35V, 10A, 175W) power supplies (72-6854, TENMA). The robots are actuated and controlled with the magnetic field generated by the coils.  Solid iron cores can be inserted into each coil to provide increased magnetic field strength in the workspace of the robot.  The robot’s performance is observed through an overhead firewire CCD camera (Flea2, Point Grey Research), a 0.7X to 3X focus lens (VZM 300i, Edmund Optics), fiber optic light source and light ring (MI-150, Edmund Optics). The camera and lens are mounted on a rack and pinion focusing mount (NT54-793, Edmund Optics) that is attached to a vertical shaft on a circular base-plate. The camera is connected to a control computer to capture real-time images of the robot and provide control signals for autonomous operation.


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Prototyping Tools

A 60W CO2 laser cutter (ULS, Inc. VLS6.60), band-saw, drill press, hand tools, electronic components, soldering stations, and data acquisition hardware (U3 and U3-HV, LabJack) are also present for macro-scale prototyping fabrication and testing.


Computer Facilities

Computer facilities in the MSRAL include six Intel Core 2 Duo 3 GHz/3 GHz processors, 3 GB RAM, 80-500 GB hard-drive Dell PC computers with a standard suite of productivity software. Also available on these machines via Stevens site licenses are a number of engineering and mathematical software packages, including: SolidWorks, LabView, ProEngineer, ANSYS, Matlab, and Mathmatica.