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Soft Micro Robotics

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "SOMBOT" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Raemistrasse 101
postcode: 8092

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Switzerland [CH]
 Total cost 2˙500˙000 €
 EC max contribution 2˙500˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-ADG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-10-01   to  2022-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The field of Micro and Nano Robotics has made impressive strides over the past decade as researchers have created a variety of small devices capable of locomotion within liquid environments. Robust fabrication techniques have been developed, some devices have been functionalized for potential applications, and therapies are being actively considered. While excitement remains high for this field, we are facing a number of significant challenges that must be addressed head-on if continued progress towards clinical relevance is to be made. This project will address what we consider to be primary roadblocks to be overcome. This includes the development of bioerodable and non-cytotoxic microrobots, development of autonomous devices capable of self-directed targeting, catheter-based delivery of microrobots near the target, tracking and control of swarms of devices in vivo, and the pursuit of clinically relevant therapies.

As we consider these advances, it becomes clear that the field of micro and nanorobotics is moving away from hard microfabricated structures and towards soft, polymeric structures capable of shape modification induced by environmental conditions and other “smart” behaviors. Just as the field of robotics witnessed the emergence of “soft robotics” in which soft and deformable materials are used as primary structural components, the field of microrobotics is beginning to experience a move towards “soft microrobots.” Soft microrobots are made of soft, deformable materials capable of sensing and actuation and have the potential to exhibit behavioral response. As we develop more complex soft microrobots, we are poised to realize intelligent microrobots that autonomously respond to their environment to perform more complex tasks. This project will develop a number of fundamental technologies required for the fabrication of intelligent soft microrobots suitable for in vivo applications. Animal trials and preclinical studies will be performed.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Christophe Chautems, Sean Lyttle, Quentin Boehler, Bradley J. Nelson
Design and Evaluation of a Steerable Magnetic Sheath for Cardiac Ablations
published pages: 2123-2128, ISSN: 2377-3766, DOI: 10.1109/lra.2018.2809546
IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters 3/3 2019-05-22
2017 Daniel Ahmed; Thierry Baasch; Nicolas Blondel; Nino Läubli; Jürg Dual; Bradley J. Nelson
Neutrophil-inspired propulsion in a combined acoustic and magnetic field
published pages: 770, ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000190168
Nature Communications 2019-05-22
2019 Samuel L. Charreyron, Edoardo Gabbi, Quentin Boehler, Matthias Becker, Bradley J. Nelson
A Magnetically Steered Endolaser Probe for Automated Panretinal Photocoagulation
published pages: 284-290, ISSN: 2377-3766, DOI: 10.1109/lra.2018.2888894
IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters 4/2 2019-05-22
2018 Xiaopu Wang, Xiao-Hua Qin, Chengzhi Hu, Anastasia Terzopoulou, Xiang-Zhong Chen, Tian-Yun Huang, Katharina Maniura-Weber, Salvador Pané, Bradley J. Nelson
3D Printed Enzymatically Biodegradable Soft Helical Microswimmers
published pages: 1804107, ISSN: 1616-301X, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201804107
Advanced Functional Materials 28/45 2019-05-22
2019 Ayoung Hong, Quentin Boehler, Roman Moser, Ajmal Zemmar, Lennart Stieglitz, Bradley J. Nelson
3D path planning for flexible needle steering in neurosurgery
published pages: e1998, ISSN: 1478-5951, DOI: 10.1002/rcs.1998
The International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery 2019-05-22
2018 Chengzhi Hu, Salvador Pané, Bradley J. Nelson
Soft Micro- and Nanorobotics
published pages: 53-75, ISSN: 2573-5144, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-control-060117-104947
Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems 1/1 2019-05-22
2018 Xiaopu Wang, Chengzhi Hu, Lukas Schurz, Carmela De Marco, Xiangzhong Chen, Salvador Pané, Bradley J. Nelson
Surface-Chemistry-Mediated Control of Individual Magnetic Helical Microswimmers in a Swarm
published pages: 6210-6217, ISSN: 1936-0851, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b02907
ACS Nano 12/6 2019-05-22
2019 Hen-Wei Huang, Mark W. Tibbitt, Tian-Yun Huang, Bradley J. Nelson
Matryoshka-Inspired Micro-Origami Capsules to Enhance Loading, Encapsulation, and Transport of Drugs
published pages: 150-159, ISSN: 2169-5172, DOI: 10.1089/soro.2018.0028
Soft Robotics 6/1 2019-05-22
2019 H.-W. Huang, F. E. Uslu, P. Katsamba, E. Lauga, M. S. Sakar, B. J. Nelson
Adaptive locomotion of artificial microswimmers
published pages: eaau1532, ISSN: 2375-2548, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau1532
Science Advances 5/1 2019-05-22

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