Sep 7: Brad Nelson: Micro and Nano Robotics and Applications in Health Care

ERC/LCSR Seminar

Date:  Wed, Sept 7, 2011

Time:  12:00pm (lunch will be served at 11:45am)

Place: B17 Hackerman Hall

Speaker: Brad Nelson, ETH Zurich

Title: Micro and Nano Robotics and Applications in Health Care


Microrobotics has entered the phase in which sub-mm autonomous robots are being realized. While the potential impact of these devices on society is high, particularly for biomedical applications, many challenges remain in developing microrobots that will be useful to society. This talk will discuss possible applications of future microrobotic technologies in health care as well as approaches to the locomotion of microrobots in liquid and on solid surfaces. Issues in the design of external systems for providing energy and control of microrobots must be considered, and the use of externally generated magnetic fields in particular appears to be a promising strategy. Theoretical and experimental issues will be discussed, functionalization of the devices, and efforts to scale microrobots to the nanodomain will be presented.


Brad Nelson is the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich. His primary research focus is on microrobotics and nanorobotics with an emphasis on applications in biology and medicine. He received a B.S.M.E. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.S.M.E. from the University of Minnesota. He has worked as an engineer at Honeywell and Motorola and served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa, before obtaining a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1995. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1995-1998) and an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota (1998-2002). He became a Full Professor at ETH Zürich in 2002.

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