AA4CC team ranked 5th at 2013 IEEE RAS Mobile Microrobotics Challenge in Karlsruhe

Doctoral candidate Jiří Zemánek and three (under)graduate students - Jakub Drs, Tomáš Michálek and Jakub Tomášek, all from the AA4CC team (CTU in Prague) coordinated by Dr. Zdeněk Hurák have qualified and participated at a prestigious international microrobotics competition called IEEE RAS Microrobotics Challenge in Karlsruhe, May 6-10, 2013. They ranked 5th in a tough competition of teams from first-class institutes such CNRS, Carnegie Mellon, University of Texas at Arlington or University of Waterloo. The event was organized by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society during their annual International Conference on Robotics and Automation. The challenge consisted in on-site demonstration of a capability to manipulate precisely submilimiter objects (could be viewed as "mobile robots") in a noncontact and autonomous way. The time needed by the microrobot to travel along a prescribed "figure eight" path was measured and was used to determine the winner.

The AA4CC team used the physical principle called dielectrophoresis to steer the microrobot (a 250-um microbead), that is, the electric field was shaped by applying a cleverly designed sequence of voltages to the array of microelectrodes. In the several-year history of the competition this was the only team demonstrating mastering of this physical principle (the other teams using mostly magnetic principles). The research of the team in this domain is targetted at developing new manipulation schemes for bioanalytical instrumentation (instead of manipulating the testing microparticles such as polystyren microbeads, liposomes, cells and other biological/chemical objects could be manipulated in a precise and fully automated way). This is in alignment with the goals of the Center of Excellence for Bioanalytical Instrumentation funded by GAČR.