Micro-system technology, nano and biotechnology are know to be key technologies of the 21st Century. In the strongly growing research activities in all these areas one works in different ways to open the world in the micrometer and nanometer range. Micro robotics forms the interface between these technologies and the classical robotics. It offers a possibility of intervening the micro world.
The Collective and Micro Robotics (CoMiRo) group at the IPR concerns itself since over a decade with the regulation and control as well as the hardware draft of micro robots. The miniaturization of approx. a cubic decimeter (MiniMan I - VI) was advanced over sugar cube size (MiCRoN) up to a robot with up to 3 mm x 3 mm x 3 mm (I-SWARM) in European Union projects under the management of the CoMiRo (see illustration).
The developed robots are equipped with different kinds of manipulators and sensors in each case, which make a manipulation adapted to their work area possible. Here manipulators are used like simple grippers, based on piezoelectric effects, as well as micro pipettes for the handling of liquids and biological objects (cells), and raster force microscopes (MiCRoN) for the analysis and manipulation of objects.
Since the I-SWARM project the group strengthened with simulation, control and development of swarm and/or collective robots. This led to the current projects within the range of the reconfigurable swarm robots the Symbrion and Replicator EU-projects. In these project coevers the CoMiRo group the development of the hardware (mechanics), software (control, distributed middleware, operating system) and distributed simulation.