Miniature robots pose unique challenges in design as a result of the lack of onboard space to carry traditional robotic components such as computing units and batteries. Novel design approaches utilize the so-called “physical intelligence” to achieve stimuli-responsiveness and further realize robotic functionalities. These robots are often in the forms of untethered miniaturized systems such as capsules and wearable devices.
The fabrication strategies for miniature robots are limited in the degree-of-freedom in materials, geometries, and other properties. Novel fabrication platforms aim to relax and ultimately remove these constraints to physically realize designs with sophisticated capabilities to meet demanding real-world challenges.
Reliable and accurate control of miniature robots is the key to enable them to work in complex real-world environments. Computer vision-based autonomous controllers are developed and deployed for these robots in various applications.
The usefulness of these novel robots boils down to their applications in our real world. Thanks to their miniature body size, they hold revolutionary potentials in minimally invasive diagnostics and therapeutics, such as targeted drug delivery and minimally invasive surgery. The exploration of their genuine biomedical applications is carried out in our lab.