Nano- and micromanipulators are critical research tools in numerous fields including micro-manufacturing and disease study. Despite their importance, nano- and micromanipulation systems remain inaccessible to many groups due to price and lack of portability. An intuitive and remotely accessible manipulation system helps mitigate this access problem. Previously, optimal control hardware for single-probe manipulation and the effect of latency on user performance were not well understood. Remote access demands full computerization; graphical user interfaces with networking capabilities were developed to fulfill this requirement and allow the use of numerous hardware controllers. Virtual environments were created to simulate the use of a manipulator with full parametric control and measurement capabilities. Users completed simulated tasks with each device and were surveyed about their perceptions. User performance with a commercial manipulator controller was exceeded by performance with both a computer mouse and pen tablet. Latency was imposed within the virtual environment to study it’s effects and establish guidelines as to which latency ranges are acceptable for long-range remote manipulation. User performance began to degrade noticeably at 100 ms and severely at 400 ms and performance with the mouse degraded the least as latency increased. A computer vision system for analyzing carbon nanotube arrays was developed so the computation time could be compared to acceptable system latency. The system characterizes the arrays to a high degree of accuracy and most of the measurement types of obtainable fast enough for real-time analysis.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Manipulators (Mechanism)--Automatic control; Robots--Control systems; Micrurgy

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Michael Schrlau

Advisor/Committee Member

Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard

Advisor/Committee Member

Mark Kempski


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at T55.3.M35 D86 2016


RIT – Main Campus