Robotics Seminar - Micro-Scale Robots: Using Magnetic Fields for Remote Motion, Grasping and Formation

Dr Eric Diller, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, will be holding a seminar about Micro-scale robots.


This talk will introduce the experimental work in a new type of field generation system using an array of permanent magnets, as well as the use of magnetic field actuation for multi-agent formation control. Functional micro-robots for swimming, crawling and grasping powered by these magnetic fields will be shown, along with our progress towards medical applications.

Micro-scale mobile robots can physically access small spaces in a versatile and non-invasive manner. Such micro-robots under several mm in size have potential unique applications for object manipulation, local sensing and cargo delivery in healthcare, microfluidics and advanced materials fabrication. These devices are powered and controlled remotely using externally-applied magnetic fields for motion in 2D and 3D.

Further information

Dr Eric Diller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. He received his BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, and PhD at Carnegie Mellon University in 2013.

His work is enabling a new approach to non-invasive medical procedures, micro-factories and scientific tools. He does this by shrinking the mechanical and electrical components of robots to centimetre, millimetre or even micrometre size. He uses magnetic fields and other smart-material actuation methods to make mobile functional devices.

Dr Diller envisions a future where drug delivery and surgery can be done in a fast, painless and focused way, and where new materials and devices can be manufactured using swarms of tiny gripping, cutting, and sensing wireless robots.

He has received the MIE Early Career Teaching Award, the University of Toronto Connaught New Researcher Award, the Ontario Early Researcher Award, and the I.W. Smith Award from the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineers.