This paper introduces the concept of a novel compliant micromanipulator that is capable of manipulating irregularly shaped micro-scale objects by positively clasping the object. The controlled clasp capability of the micromanipulator can be useful to accomplish the manipulation of a wide range of micro-scale objects and biological specimens, especially those with irregular shapes and/or floating in a liquid medium where traditional tweezers or grippers are cumbersome or unsuitable. The monolithic structure of the micromanipulator comprises of two distinct parts: a body and a clasp. The body has a topology that magnifies a single rectilinear input actuation into two larger displacements at the input points to the clasp mechanism. The clasp mechanism comprises of rigid links connected by rotary joints in the form of low-resistance serpentine flexures. The mechanism “clasps” the target object by enveloping the object with a continuous mechanical boundary that eventually closes inwards and “locks” the object within the boundary. The paper presents a systematic design of the compliant micromanipulator and the analytical model governing the behavior of the clasp using topology optimization techniques and energy methods.

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