M. Moll, K. Y. Goldberg, M. A. Erdmann, and R. S. Fearing, “Aligning Parts for Micro Assemblies,” Assembly Automation, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 46–54, Feb. 2002.
Orienting parts that measure only a few micrometers in diameter introduces several challenges that need not be considered at the macro-scale. First, there are several kinds of sticking effects due to Van der Waals forces and static electricity which complicate hand-off motions and release of a part. Second, the degrees of freedom of micro-manipulators are limited. This paper proposes a pair of manipulation primitives and a complete algorithm that addresses these challenges. We will show that a sequence of these two manipulation primitives can uniquely orient any asymmetric part while maintaining contact without sensing. This allows us to apply the same plan to many (identical) parts simultaneously. For asymmetric parts we can find a plan of length O(n) in O(n) time that orients the part, where n is the number of vertices.