Automated selection and placement of single cells using vision-based feedback control

Yasser H. Anis, Mark R. Holl, Deirdre Meldrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


We present a robotic manipulation system for automated selection and transfer of individual living cells to analysis locations. We begin with a commonly used cell transfer technique using glass capillary micropipettes to aspirate and release living cells suspended in liquid growth media. Using vision-based feedback and closed-loop process control, two individual three-axis robotic stages position the micropipette tip in proximity to the cell of interest. The cell is aspirated and the tip is moved to a target location where the cell is dispensed. Computer vision is used to monitor and inspect the success of the dispensing process. In our initial application, the target cell destination is a microwell etched in a fused silica substrate. The system offers a robust and flexible technology for cell selection and manipulation. Applications for this technology include embryonic stem cells transfer, blastomere biopsy, cell patterning, and cell surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5373841
Pages (from-to)598-606
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Automation
  • cell manipulation
  • closed-loop control
  • feature recognition
  • image processing
  • visual servoing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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