Robotics and automation at small spatial scales has received increased interest as artificial devices and systems at the nano and micro-scales can achieve revolutionary advancements in such applications as biology, medicine, industry, micro and nanotechnologies and the environment. Micro and nanorobotic systems for the manipulation and assembly of small artificial or natural components will provide unprecedented knowledge and tools to incorporate them in electronic devices or in mechanical structures. Micro and nanorobots having the ability to interact intimately with biological entities are expected to lead to new scientific understanding and to new tools for such fundamental tasks as detection and treatment of disease.

Robotics and automation at small spatial scales open the door to many applications, but it also raises new scientific challenges as phenomena at the micro and nanoscale are often markedly different from their macroscopic counterparts, and this has strong implications on robotic strategies, software and hardware for manipulation, locomotion, sensing and control. Micro and nanorobotics is a multidisciplinary field at the frontier of many different scientific domains, including physics, chemistry, material sciences, robotics and control. Many questions remain open when the scale goes down to micro and nanometer. We still lack precise models of the behavior of micro and nanorobots. Sensing remains a challenge when the spatial resolution or the force range drops. These highly dynamic and highly non-linear systems necessitate the development of specific control strategies. Fabrication of micrometer size robots is still not fully mastered… and here are only a few examples of open questions raised by robotics and automation at small spatial scales.

The Technical Committee for Micro/Nano Robotics and Automation will bring together scientists and engineers from different backgrounds and disciplines, and will provide a set of opportunities to discuss open issues and imagine the next generation of robots for small spatial scales.

Priority areas for the technical committee include but are not limited to:

  • Design of Micro/Nanorobots
  • Kinematic and Dynamic Modeling of Micro/Nanorobotic Systems
  • Control of Micro/Nanorobotic Systems
  • Sensing and detection for Micro/Nanorobotic Systems
  • Fabrication of Micro/Nano robots
  • Micromanipulation, microassembly
  • Tethered and untethered Micro/Nanorobotic Systems
  • Bio- Micro/Nano-Robotics
  • Applications (e.g. Medicine, Biology, Industrial Manufacturing)

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