Haptic Interaction for Simulated Micromanipulation

Manipulation of microscopic objects is gaining relevance as the techniques evolve and bring the possibility of dealing of smaller and smaller objects. For example in biology the possibility of manipulating individual living cells, embryos and stem cell and generic therapies is of outmost importance. For example performing injection in cells is a task that requires extensive practice, in particular as it is performed at a level where the magnitude of the involved forces are very hard to measure, and only a 2D-like visualisation of the task is possible through a microscope. Given this, it is quite normal that in many cases the cells explode due to imprecise manipulation that in turn comes out from the lack of reliable feedback that may bring the operator to sense it properly. In this work we intend to develop a system for manipulating cells or other microscopic objects, based on the generation of haptic forces extracted from visual cues extracted from the manipulated objects’ deformations.

Work plan:

  1. Report on State-ofArt on Haptic Interaction for Simulated Micro-manipulation
  2. Define a Model of contact forces between a micro-needle and cell.
  3. Define a Model of force discontinuities during the rupture of the cell wall.
  4. Simulation of elastic forces and wall rupture in virtual cells models.
  5. Development of a graphics simulator for scale model for a cell injection system
  6. Integration of haptic devices to control virtual needle insertion in cell models.
  7. Develop a camera system to simulate views of cell injection using rubber balloons, in top-view configurations.
  8. Detection of cell (balloon) deformations and estimate the equivalent force magnitude.
  9. Couple with a VR HMD for an immersive visualisation of the injection task.
  10. Demonstrator of the system:: advantage in visual haptics in cell injection by integration.

Supervision: Prof. Paulo Menezes & Prof. Jorge Dias