Untethered robotic microswimmers are very promising to significantly improve various types of minimally invasive surgeries by offering high accuracy at extremely small scales. A prime example is drug delivery, for which a large number of microswimmers is required to deliver sufficient dosages to target sites. For this reason, the controllability of groups of microswimmers is essential. In this paper, we demonstrate simultaneous control of multiple geometrically similar but magnetically different microswimmers using a single global rotating magnetic field. By exploiting the differences in their magnetic properties, we triggered different swimming behaviors from the microswimmers by controlling the frequency and the strength of the global field, for example, one swim and the other does not while exposed to the same control input. Our results show that the balance between the applied magnetic torque and the hydrodynamic torque can be exploited for simultaneous control of two microswimmers to swim in opposite directions, with different velocities, and with similar velocities. This work will serve to establish important concepts for future developments of control systems to manipulate multiple magnetically actuated microswimmers and a step towards using swarms of microswimmers as viable workforces for complex operations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)