Research Topic

Micro Robotic Sensing and Control for Minimally Invasive Medicine

About this Research Topic

Minimally invasive medicine has seen remarkable breakthroughs due to the coordination of robotics and medical research; however, there is still plenty of room for progress, especially at the cellular length scale.

The idea of employing microrobots for therapeutic purposes was articulated by Prof. Feynman in 1959 and the field has since flourished with the integration of microelectromechanical systems, robotics, biomedical engineering, and medicine. The ultimate goal is to increase the quality of life for the patient while reducing the risks and costs of rehabilitation. Active targeted drug delivery, minimally invasive biopsy and surgery, tissue repair and regeneration are some of the applications envisioned for micro-robotic systems. Accuracy, repeatability, and robustness are very important for robotic systems, and these concerns are particularly paramount when interacting with live tissues, where patient safety is of utmost importance. Whether tethered or untethered, a micro-robotic system requires precise motion control to compensate for the adverse conditions offered by the microscopic realm and biological environment.

All robotic systems rely on sensory inputs to know their surroundings and perform their intended tasks accordingly. However, micro-robotic systems cannot accommodate sensors and transducers in abundance due to constraints in size and energy supply. Furthermore, live biological tissues are inherently noisy, limiting the use of conventional data acquisition.

The ultimate goal is to achieve robust motion control in an environment where sensory inputs are scarce, and stochastic and nonlinear effects are abundant. Further complications arise due to limitations in energy supply as a result of the physical and chemical properties of surrounding tissues. Finally, unavoidable contact with immune cells poses the threat of triggering unwanted biochemical reactions. Under such conditions, micro-robotic tools should be able to perform the task at hand as fast and efficiently as possible without becoming lost or unresponsive. In that regard, the design and implementation of the control system, including the control strategy and necessary hardware, of a micro-robotic system is of utmost importance.

This Research Topic aims to cover promising, recent, and novel research on the challenging field of motion control for biomedical micro-robotics. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:

• Modeling and model-based control
• Observers and filters for non-Newtonian and stochastic effects
• Artificial Intelligence for gait planning and control
• Machine learning for environment identification
• Sensory arrays for feedback control
• Visual-surveying techniques
• Haptic interfaces for micromanipulation
• Control of tethered and untethered systems for minimally invasive medicine
• Control of micro-robotic swarms
• Control of bio-hybrid systems
• Bio-hybrid materials
• Advanced micro motion control techniques
• Various sensing methods for micro-robotics (e.g., biosensors, chemical, mechanical, etc.)
• Simulated clinical scenarios
• In vivo and in vitro applications


Keywords: In vivo Micro Motion Control, Robot Sensing, Micro Robotic Swarms, Haptics, Artificial Intelligence


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Minimally invasive medicine has seen remarkable breakthroughs due to the coordination of robotics and medical research; however, there is still plenty of room for progress, especially at the cellular length scale.

The idea of employing microrobots for therapeutic purposes was articulated by Prof. Feynman in 1959 and the field has since flourished with the integration of microelectromechanical systems, robotics, biomedical engineering, and medicine. The ultimate goal is to increase the quality of life for the patient while reducing the risks and costs of rehabilitation. Active targeted drug delivery, minimally invasive biopsy and surgery, tissue repair and regeneration are some of the applications envisioned for micro-robotic systems. Accuracy, repeatability, and robustness are very important for robotic systems, and these concerns are particularly paramount when interacting with live tissues, where patient safety is of utmost importance. Whether tethered or untethered, a micro-robotic system requires precise motion control to compensate for the adverse conditions offered by the microscopic realm and biological environment.

All robotic systems rely on sensory inputs to know their surroundings and perform their intended tasks accordingly. However, micro-robotic systems cannot accommodate sensors and transducers in abundance due to constraints in size and energy supply. Furthermore, live biological tissues are inherently noisy, limiting the use of conventional data acquisition.

The ultimate goal is to achieve robust motion control in an environment where sensory inputs are scarce, and stochastic and nonlinear effects are abundant. Further complications arise due to limitations in energy supply as a result of the physical and chemical properties of surrounding tissues. Finally, unavoidable contact with immune cells poses the threat of triggering unwanted biochemical reactions. Under such conditions, micro-robotic tools should be able to perform the task at hand as fast and efficiently as possible without becoming lost or unresponsive. In that regard, the design and implementation of the control system, including the control strategy and necessary hardware, of a micro-robotic system is of utmost importance.

This Research Topic aims to cover promising, recent, and novel research on the challenging field of motion control for biomedical micro-robotics. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:

• Modeling and model-based control
• Observers and filters for non-Newtonian and stochastic effects
• Artificial Intelligence for gait planning and control
• Machine learning for environment identification
• Sensory arrays for feedback control
• Visual-surveying techniques
• Haptic interfaces for micromanipulation
• Control of tethered and untethered systems for minimally invasive medicine
• Control of micro-robotic swarms
• Control of bio-hybrid systems
• Bio-hybrid materials
• Advanced micro motion control techniques
• Various sensing methods for micro-robotics (e.g., biosensors, chemical, mechanical, etc.)
• Simulated clinical scenarios
• In vivo and in vitro applications


Keywords: In vivo Micro Motion Control, Robot Sensing, Micro Robotic Swarms, Haptics, Artificial Intelligence


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

29 November 2020 Abstract
28 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

29 November 2020 Abstract
28 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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