Robust contact detection in micromanipulation using computer vision microscopy.

W. H. Wang, X. Y. Liu, Y. Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a computer vision algorithm for visually detecting the contact between an end-effector and a target surface under an optical microscope. Without using additional sensors (e.g., proximity or force/touch sensors), this algorithm provides robustness and a sub-micrometer detection resolution. Fundamentally, after the establishment of a contact in the world frame, further vertical motion induces horizontal motion in the image plane. An analysis is presented to elaborate this fundamental mechanism. Experimental results demonstrate that this computer-vision-based method is capable of achieving contact detection between a micropipette and a glass slide surface with a resolution of 0.2 microm. Furthermore, 1300 experimental trials reveal that the presented algorithm is robust to variations in illumination intensity, microscopy magnification, and microrobot motion speed.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics


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