Announcements - xyz piezo micromanipulator

Low cost piezo actuator V4

posted Nov 19, 2014, 12:16 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Nov 19, 2014, 12:16 PM ]

We are assembling a new prototype of the low cost piezo actuator. The improvement is higher density of piezo buzzers to increase the range of this device. 

Low cost piezo-based actuator ready!

posted Sep 25, 2014, 10:43 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Oct 2, 2014, 11:39 AM ]

The third prototype of the low-cost piezo-based actuator was successfully tested today at the SENSORICA lab in Montreal
Applications: biology, micro 3D printer, microelectronics, etc... 

The actuator alone is estimated at only 2$/piece It is a linear micromanipulator that gives you sub-micron precision. It allows you to make small displacement in space. We estimated the cost of electronics to drive it at less than 50$. These things go on the market for thousands of dollars. 

Contact SENSORICA is you want to buy this prototype. See the document below if you want to make it yourself. 

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

Design and Prototype - Low cost, long range piezo stack

ENGAGE grant with McGill was awarded

posted Aug 15, 2014, 11:18 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Aug 15, 2014, 11:28 PM ]

A 25K ENGAGE grant was awarded on August first to a collaborative project between SENSORICA affiliates and Dr. P.H. Grutter from McGill University, Department of Physics. As in the other cases, Tactus was used as interface. Main SENSORICA contacts are Antonio and Francois
As with any ENGAGE grant, the funds are used by the academic lab, and our network benefits from the work done. 

Project title: Development of new micropositioner systems compatible with high resolution optical microscopy
Start date: 2014/09/01

The goal of this Engage Grant project is to implement and evaluate the micromanipulation potential of a new type of micromotors and a new type of driving electronics in the demanding context of the a unique configuration of a micorpositiner to be developed by Tactus Scientific Inc. [SENSORICA in fact] to perform manipulation of live neurons while they are being observed by high resolution optical microscopy. This combination of micromotors and drivers would lead to a unique configuration of a micropositiner to be developed by Tactus Scientific Inc. [SENSORICA]. In particular, the submicron resolution stability combined with the centimeter range motion of the innovation will be carefully assessed by these challenging experiments. High resolution optical microscopes have a very confined working area and thus present formidable challenges in micropositioner design. The Grutter group has considerable experience in manipulating and connecting live neurons. Experiments such as these could have a major impact on surgical repair of severed nerves, on the study and understanding of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer or the parameters limiting the rate of neurite growth as a result of the polymerization rate of neurofilaments due to geometrical and pharmacological interventions. An example of our capabilities of reconnecting live neurons is shown in the figure below.

Key to these manipulations is positioning a suitably chemically functionalized ~10 micrometer sized bead using a pipette mounted to a manipulator. Changing the experimental parameters (such as manipulation speed) allows us to change the dimension of the connecting neurite. To start providing answers to some of the broad themes outlined above one needs to combine a precise 3D manipulator with high resolution optical microscopy techniques. The idea here is to set up and evaluate new, compact 3D micromanipulators that can be used to manipulate the neurites during optical microscopy observation.

Piezo motor-based tilt stage under testing

posted Jun 26, 2014, 1:36 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Sep 20, 2014, 4:12 PM ]

Testing of the first prototype of the new tilt stage, by 
Antonio and Felipe. The casing was 3D printed in our lab. The tilt is +/- 4with 0.0002o steps. 

Low cost, long range piezo stack demonstrated

posted Dec 19, 2013, 2:27 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Jan 2, 2014, 9:34 PM ]

YouTube Video

Design and Prototype - Low cost, long range piezo stack

The Mantis goes to market

posted Dec 5, 2013, 5:08 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Dec 5, 2013, 6:04 PM ]

At the beginning of this week we shipped the first 2ax piezo driver to University of Arizona. This is the first 1.4K earned by sensoricans, after 3 years of hard work. 

Once we'll receive the payment for this piezo we'll need to go through a redistribution. We still need to work on the value equation, but this will be a great experience. See also Value Accounting for the Piezo.

This morning we performed a first demo at the University of Montreal. The application is stimulation of the nervous system of mice. The researcher needs a piezo positioner to position a needle to stimulate the nerves on the face of the animal, while monitoring neuronal activities. It turns out that there is also a chance to supply a Mosquito too, because there is value in knowing exactly how much force is applied during the stimulation to trigger that neuronal activity. We believe that proof of concept experiments can be performed with our LED Mosquito, which is already functional at Phil's lab. We will propose a collaborative project in order to help this professor to write a good proposal, in order to get the funding to purchase an entire Scientific Instrument System (which includes a Mosquito, a Mantis, and other accessories already made by us). Other benefits can follow from this collaboration.

In January we'll perform another demo at University of Montreal.

At this moment, we are having serious discussions about how to insure quality of manufacturing, distribution and quality of services. This is a new reality for SENSORICA. We have demonstrated that an open value network can innovate. Now we need to make it sustainable!
This new experience also helps us identify new types of services that closed companies cannot offer. Our value proposition is just getting better.

The 3-axis piezo comes to life!

posted Nov 7, 2013, 2:05 PM by Sensorica Group   [ updated Nov 7, 2013, 2:07 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu ]

Jonathan assembled the first complete 3 axis piezo.

3 axis piezo

3 axis piezo .

3 axis piezo . P15 31

The 2 axis Mantis ready to produce data at McGill University

posted Nov 7, 2013, 7:41 AM by Sensorica Group   [ updated Dec 17, 2015, 8:00 AM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu ]

In the two videos below we can see our piezo driver MMP - S1 2ax being used at McGill University (Dep. of Physiology) by Felipe (in the picture), in a real experiment. 


The video shows a myofibril sample in caught in between 2 glass needles. the experiment is filmed under 60X magnification on an inverted microscope. The striations on the sample are on the order of a couple of microns. This can give an idea of the precision of the motion. Only the upper needle is connected to the piezo actuator. The rest of the motion is due to environmental vibrations. 

On the computer screen we see the traces of 2 glass microneedles captured by a linear array CCD, through an inverted microscope at 100X. The structure on the left is connected to the piezo. We make steps of one microns each. 

New push for commercializing the piezo

posted Sep 16, 2013, 8:15 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Sep 23, 2013, 3:32 PM ]

Sensoricans in Montreal are now rallying behind behind the piezo project in a new push for commercialization. We are developing a new modular design suitable for multiple applications. SENSORICA badly needs a commercial success case in order to demonstrate that our value network model can close the loop from design to distribution and service, to become self-sustainable.

Electronics - the Driver

The design is finished and parts have been ordered. We now need to assemble the driver. 

Piezo Driver board (designed by Jonathan)

Piezo driver box (designed by Antonio).
See the first prototype version installed at McGill.

Mechanics - the Actuator

After some initial problems with the 3D printing process Daniel got the dimensions right. We now have a design of that we can print on demand, and a base from which we can customize and modify. 

3D printed parts (designed by Daniel)

Piezo driver based on the PDu100 installed at McGill University

posted Sep 5, 2013, 3:25 PM by Sensorica Group   [ updated Sep 5, 2013, 3:25 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu ]

Yesterday we successfully installed and tested the piezo driver at Dilson's lab, McGill University, Dep of Physiology. It was tested using Dilson's piezo actuators (which uses a piezo tube from BPO). A glass needle was attached to the piezo actuator and its tip, only a few microns in diameter, was observed with a NIKON inverted microscope at 60X. The entire device responded very well to the motion commands and its stability (keeping its position) was adequate. 

This piezo driver was assembled by Antonio. It can drive one piezo tube in 2 axis or two piezo tubes in one axis each, independently. The driver takes in an analog voltage from a DAQ card.

We have a product!

Next steps is to render the design of the driver more modular, to make it extendable to more than two axis. After, we're talking about integrating a micro-controller and to make it independent of a DAQ card, controlling it via a serial port (USB). The same modular architecture can be used to integrate the piezo drivers with valve actuators. An entire family of lab instruments can emerge from this... We'll take it one step at the time.

If you want to participate in R&D or in the commercialization effort please contact us. We're open!

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