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Automated transport of multiple particles using optical tweezers requires real-time path planning to move them in coordination by avoiding collisions among themselves and with randomly moving obstacles. This paper develops a decoupled and prioritized path planning approach by sequentially applying a partially observable Markov decision process algorithm on every particle that needs to be transported. We use an iterative version of a maximum bipartite graph matching algorithm to assign given goal locations to such particles. We then employ a three-step method consisting of clustering, classification, and branch and bound optimization to determine the final collision-free paths. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the developed approach via experiments using silica beads in a holographic tweezers setup. We also discuss the applicability of our approach and challenges in manipulating biological cells indirectly by using the transported particles as grippers.
Automation Science and Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:9 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: Oct. 2012