Creating microrobots using 3D printers: Research from Professor Eric Diller’s lab published in Science Robotics

MASc student Tianqi Xu holds up a microrobot that was fabricated using their automated system. (Photo credit: Liz Do)

April 26, 2019 – Graduate student Tianqi Xu (MIE MASc candidate) and his labmates, under the supervision of Professor Eric Diller, have developed a fast, precise way to assemble microrobots using a 3D printer. The process normally takes hours to manually assemble the millimetre-scale bots. With this new approach, it would only take 20 minutes.

These tiny robots are programmed and controlled wirelessly using magnetic fields. They could potentially be used in medical applications such as being swallowed and entering the gastrointestinal tract to take samples. “There’s a need to explore this space of tiny medical robots,” says Diller.

The team’s findings were recently published in Science Robotics, featured in a U of T Engineering news story and in a Science Magazine article and video (below). Diller was also interviewed in a video about this research on the popular Youtube channel Veritasium (below).

-by Pam Walls,

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