A scalable syringe-actuated microgripper for biological manipulation

Ageel Farraj Ali Alogla, Paul Crichton Scanlan, Will Shu, R. L. Reuben

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Citations (Scopus)


Recent developments in the functionality of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), particularly for medical and biological applications, have led to an increasing demand for micromanipulation devices. This paper describes the design, fabrication, and testing of a family of pneumatically driven microgrippers which can be scaled to handle millimetre to nanometre compliant and non-compliant objects, with the potential to control gripping forces. In contrast to conventional actuation methods including piezoelectric, magnetic and thermal, pneumatic actuation has the advantages of large power density, the potential for force control, low cost and simplicity. The reported prototypes were fabricated using straightforward processes, in contrast to previously-reported pneumatically actuated manipulators. The overall aim of the work is to demonstrate a family of low-cost, polymer based micro grippers that can be actuated manually using pneumatic forces (e. g. via a syringe). A version of the device has been successfully fabricated using laser micromachining and assembled to give an output force of up to 8 mN. The pneumatic actuation was implemented in such as way that it can open the jaws of the micro gripper in a precisely controlled way, demonstrated on a prototype for handling various compliant objects smaller than 200 mu m in diameter. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) was used to calculate the gripping force, and the results compared with the experimental measurements. The scaling of the demonstrator and its reverse actuation to increase the gripping force are discussed on the basis of the FEA. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd....Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of the Symposium Cracoviense Sp. z.o.o.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication26th European Conference on Solid-State Transducers, EUROSENSOR 2012
EditorsRafal Walczak, Jan Dziuban
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event26th European Conference on Solid-State Transducers - Krakow, Poland
Duration: 9 Sept 201212 Sept 2012

Publication series

NameProcedia Engineering
PublisherElsevier B.V.
ISSN (Print)1877-7058


Conference26th European Conference on Solid-State Transducers
Abbreviated titleEurosensors 2012


  • Micrigripper
  • Penumatic Actuation
  • MEMS
  • Biological Manipulation


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