University of Washington

Research Activities

Automated Optical Tweezers-based Manipulation


  • Non-contact manipulation with 3D multiplexing capability, flexibility in choice of manipulated object, precise object control, easy object release, and minimal object damage
  • Automation is challenging due to stochastic and non-linear dynamics, sensing (optical imaging) uncertainty, and need for fast control updates
  • Developing robust image processing method to detect configurations of multiple types of objects located in close proximities
  • Designing real-time model predictive controller to coordinate motions of several objects
  • Investigating inter-cellular signaling through geometric control of heterogeneous cell arrangements


The goal of our research in the Scale-independent Multimodal Automated Real Time Systems (SMARTS) Lab at the University of Washington is to develop automated decision-making methods for cyber-physical systems to achieve optimal and robust performances. Of particular interest to us is an optically-actuated micro-robotic system, known as optical tweezers (OT), which enables precise and concurrent manipulation of a large number of objects in three dimensions. Our current focus is on investigating the interactions within geometrically controlled patterns of heterogeneous cells that are manipulated using OT.


Ashis G. Banerjee
Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Washington, USA

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