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  1. This paper presents four data-driven system models for a magnetically controlled swimmer. The models were derived directly from experimental data, and the accuracy of the models was experimentally demonstrated. Our previous study successfully implemented two non-model-based control algorithms for 3D path-following using PID and model reference adaptive controller (MRAC). This paper focuses on system identification using only experimental data and a model-based control strategy. Four system models were derived: (1) a physical estimation model, (2, 3) Sparse Identification of Nonlinear Dynamics (SINDY), linear system and nonlinear system, and (4) multilayer perceptron (MLP). All four system models were implemented as an estimator of a multi-step Kalman filter. The maximum required sensing interval was increased from 180 ms to 420 ms and the respective tracking error decreased from 9 mm to 4.6 mm. Finally, a Model Predictive Controller (MPC) implementing the linear SINDY model was tested for 3D path-following and shown to be computationally efficient and offers performances comparable to other control methods.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 23, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. Rotating miniature magnetic swimmers are de-vices that could navigate within the bloodstream to access remote locations of the body and perform minimally invasive procedures. The rotational movement could be used, for example, to abrade a pulmonary embolus. Some regions, such as the heart, are challenging to navigate. Cardiac and respiratory motions of the heart combined with a fast and variable blood flow necessitate a highly agile swimmer. This swimmer should minimize contact with the walls of the blood vessels and the cardiac structures to mitigate the risk of complications. This paper presents experimental tests of a millimeter-scale magnetic helical swimmer navigating in a blood-mimicking solution and describes its turning capabilities. The step-out frequency and the position error were measured for different values of turn radius. The paper also introduces rapid movements that increase the swimmer's agility and demonstrates these experimentally on a complex 3D trajectory.
  4. We investigate algorithmic approaches for targeted drug delivery in a complex, maze-like environment, such as a vascular system. The basic scenario is given by a large swarm of micro-scale particles ("agents") and a particular target region ("tumor") within a system of passageways. Agents are too small to contain on-board power or computation and are instead controlled by a global external force that acts uniformly on all particles, such as an applied fluidic flow or electromagnetic field. The challenge is to deliver all agents to the target region with a minimum number of actuation steps. We provide a number of results for this challenge. We show that the underlying problem is NP-hard, which explains why previous work did not provide provably efficient algorithms. We also develop a number of algorithmic approaches that greatly improve the worst-case guarantees for the number of required actuation steps. We evaluate our algorithmic approaches by a number of simulations, both for deterministic algorithms and searches supported by deep learning, which show that the performance is practically promising.
  5. In this video, we present theoretical and practical methods for achieving arbitrary reconfiguration of a set of objects, based on the use of external forces, such as a magnetic field or gravity: Upon actuation, each object is pushed in the same direction. This concept can be used for a wide range of applications in which particles do not have their own energy supply or in which they are subject to the same global control commands. A crucial challenge for achieving any desired target configuration is breaking global symmetry in a controlled fashion. Previous work (some of which was presented during SoCG 2015) made use of specifically placed barriers; however, introducing precisely located obstacles into the workspace is impractical for many scenarios. In this paper, we present a different, less intrusive method: making use of the interplay between static friction with a boundary and the external force to achieve arbitrary reconfiguration. Our key contributions are theoretical characterizations of the critical coefficient of friction that is sufficient for rearranging two particles in triangles, convex polygons, and regular polygons; a method for reconfiguring multiple particles in rectangular workspaces, and deriving practical algorithms for these rearrangements. Hardware experiments show the efficacy of these procedures,more »demonstrating the usefulness of this novel approach.« less