We propose a visual control system for motile cells. Our goal is to control microorganisms as microscale smart robots for various applications. As a first step, we have developed a visual feedback control system for Paramecium caudatum cells. In order to ensure both detailed measurements and a large working space, "lock-on" tracking of a free-swimming cell with a high frame rate is essential. In our system, high-speed (1-kHz frame rate) tracking hardware and software are used for the continuous observarion of moving cells with high magnification. Cells swim in a chamber, and their positions and other properties are measured and computed in real time. The chamber position is visually controlled automatically to track a specific cell. The cell motion is controlled electrically by utilizing the galvanotaxis (intrinsic reaction to electrical stimulus) of microorganisms. Experimental results for open-loop control (periodic zigzag motion) and closed-loop control (trapping within a small region that is 1 mm wide) demonstrate the possibility of using microorganisms as micromachines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Computer Science Applications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering