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  1. Abstract Quantitative assessment of soft tissue elasticity is crucial to a broad range of applications, such as biomechanical modeling, physiological monitoring, and tissue diseases diagnosing. However, the modulus measurement of soft tissues, particularly in vivo, has proved challenging since the instrument has to reach the site of soft tissue and be able to measure in a very short time. Here, we present a simple method to measure the elastic modulus of soft tissues on site by exploiting buckling of a long slender bar to quantify the applied force and a spherical indentation to extract the elastic modulus. The method is realized by developing a portable pen-sized instrument (EPen: Elastic modulus pen). The measurement accuracies are verified by independent modulus measures using commercial nanoindenter. Quantitative measurements of the elastic modulus of mouse pancreas, healthy and cancerous, surgically exposed but attached to the body further confirm the potential clinical utility of the EPen.
  2. Industrial robots, as mature and high-efficient equipment, have been applied to various fields, such as vehicle manufacturing, product packaging, painting, welding, and medical surgery. Most industrial robots are only operating in their own workspace, in other words, they are floor-mounted at the fixed locations. Just some industrial robots are wall-mounted on one linear rail based on the applications. Sometimes, industrial robots are ceiling-mounted on an X-Y gantry to perform upside-down manipulation tasks. The main objective of this paper is to describe the NeXus, a custom robotic system that has been designed for precision microsystem integration tasks with such a gantry. The system tasks include assembly, bonding, and 3D printing of sensor arrays, solar cells, and microrobotic prototypes. The NeXus consists of a custom designed frame, providing structural rigidity, a large overhead X-Y gantry carrying a 6 degrees of freedom industrial robot, and several other precision positioners and processes. We focus here on the design and precision evaluation of the overhead ceiling-mounted industrial robot of NeXus and its supporting frame. We first simulated the behavior of the frame using Finite Element Analysis (FEA), then experimentally evaluated the pose repeatability of the robot end-effector using three different types of sensors. Results verifymore »that the performance objectives of the design are achieved.« less
  3. One of the fundamental issues in the Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) additive manufacturing process lies in the mechanical property anisotropy where the strength of the FFF-3D printed part in the build-direction can be significantly lower than that in other directions. The physical phenomenon that governs this issue is the coupled effect of macroscopic thermal mechanical issues associated with the thermal history of the interface, and the microscopic effect of the polymer microstructure and mass transfer across interfaces. In this study it was found that the use of 34.4 kHz ultrasonic vibrations during FFF-3D printing results in an increase of up to 10% in the interlayer adhesion in Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), comparing the printing in identical thermal conditions to that in conventional FFF printing. This increase in the interlayer adhesion strength is attributed to the increase in polymer reptation due to ultrasonic vibration-induced relaxation of the polymer chains from secondary interactions in the interface regions.