Vision Feedback Control for the Automation of the Pick-and-Place of a Capillary Force Gripper

Takatoshi Ito, Eri Fukuchi, Kenta Tanaka, Yuki Nishiyama, Naoto Watanabe, Ohmi Fuchiwaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we describe a newly developed vision feedback method for improving the placement accuracy and success rate of a single nozzle capillary force gripper. The capillary force gripper was developed for the pick-and-place of mm-sized objects. The gripper picks up an object by contacting the top surface of the object with a droplet formed on its nozzle and places the object by contacting the bottom surface of the object with a droplet previously applied to the place surface. To improve the placement accuracy, we developed a vision feedback system combined with two cameras. First, a side camera was installed to capture images of the object and nozzle from the side. Second, from the captured images, the contour of the pre-applied droplet for placement and the contour of the object picked up by the nozzle were detected. Lastly, from the detected contours, the distance between the top surface of the droplet for object release and the bottom surface of the object was measured to determine the appropriate amount of nozzle descent. Through the experiments, we verified that the size matching effect worked reasonably well; the average placement error minimizes when the size of the cross-section of the objects is closer to that of the nozzle. We attributed this result to the self-alignment effect. We also confirmed that we could control the attitude of the object when we matched the shape of the nozzle to that of the sample. These results support the feasibility of the developed vision feedback system, which uses the capillary force gripper for heterogeneous and complex-shaped micro-objects in flexible electronics, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), soft robotics, soft matter, and biomedical fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1270
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • capillary force
  • micromanipulation
  • non-contact
  • vision feedback
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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