In my project, I’m trying to build a cell-sorter, primarily focussed on picking and sorting of islets. One of the major constraints in the design are that the work are is under the objective lens of the microscope. Thus all actuators should be outside this field area, yet resulting in motion accuracy of ~ 25 um.
The are two major classes of machines in my research so far which work under similar constraints – small work area which has to be un-obstructed:
- Micromanipulators for wafer probing – http://www.micromanipulator.com/wafer-probe-station
- Surgical robots – http://allaboutroboticsurgery.com/surgicalrobots.html
It is interesting to note that most designs used are SCARA and anthropomorphic types for this very reason and the fact that the forces at the end-effector are small compared to the forces involved in manipulating the structure.
The history of surgical robots is also very fascinating, initially deriving inspiration from manufacturing pick and place manipulator scare robots to maturing into a domain of their own like the da Vinci Systems.