University of Oulu

Nilles A.Q., Pervan A., Berrueta T.A., Murphey T.D., LaValle S.M. (2021) Information Requirements of Collision-Based Micromanipulation. In: LaValle S.M., Lin M., Ojala T., Shell D., Yu J. (eds) Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics XIV. WAFR 2020. Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics, vol 17. Springer, Cham.

Information requirements of collision-based micromanipulation

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Author: Nilles, Alexandra Q.1; Pervan, Ana2; Berrueta, Thomas A.2;
Organizations: 1Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
3Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-08-16


We present a task-centered formal analysis of the relative power of several robot designs, inspired by the unique properties and constraints of micro-scale robotic systems. Our task of interest is object manipulation because it is a fundamental prerequisite for more complex applications such as micro-scale assembly or cell manipulation. Motivated by the difficulty in observing and controlling agents at the micro-scale, we focus on the design of boundary interactions: the robot’s motion strategy when it collides with objects or the environment boundary, otherwise known as a bounce rule. We present minimal conditions on the sensing, memory, and actuation requirements of periodic “bouncing” robot trajectories that move an object in a desired direction through the incidental forces arising from robot-object collisions. Using an information space framework and a hierarchical controller, we compare several robot designs, emphasizing the information requirements of goal completion under different initial conditions, as well as what is required to recognize irreparable task failure. Finally, we present a physically-motivated model of boundary interactions, and analyze the robustness and dynamical properties of resulting trajectories.

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Series: Springer proceedings in advanced robotics
ISSN: 2511-1256
ISSN-E: 2511-1264
ISSN-L: 2511-1256
ISBN: 978-3-030-66723-8
ISBN Print: 978-3-030-66722-1
Pages: 210 - 226
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-66723-8_13
Host publication: Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics
Host publication editor: LaValle, Steven M.
Lin, Ming
Ojala, Timo
Shell, Dylan
Yu, Jingjin
Conference: International Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics. The final authenticated version is available online at: