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The active surface device is a new type of automation concept to handle multiple objects with high precision. The concept consists of using a massively parallel microactuator array to generate a pressure field on a planar surface. The objects can be translated, rotated, and flipped by controlling this pressure field surrounding the objects. The architecture of the active surface device is designed in a modular manner, which allows the array to be expanded by simply adding modules to the system. A general-purpose test bed has been built to experiment with this new design. An object recognition algorithm and several control techniques have been successfully implemented to perform basic sensing and handling operations. The architecture and mechanisms of this prototype test bed and the implementation of algorithms are presented.