Microrobotics Lab Home

The Avci research group believes that tiny smart systems will revolutionise work at the microscale, opening new avenues for research. Specifically, using microrobotics to solve biomedical challenges allows for improved consistency and speed when working at small scales, and frees researchers from laborious manual tests under a microscope. The many factors that come into designing microrobotics systems mean that an interdisciplinary environment is crucial. This is recognised by the Avci group, where our researchers have backgrounds in engineering, robotics, material science, micro-manufacturing, microbiology and veterinary science. The different backgrounds of our researchers have allowed us to work in three main research areas: nanoscale optical robots for analysis of molecules; microrobots for cell manipulation and analysis and millimetre-scale robots for gut analysis. The Avci group is using a variety of actuation, control and manufacturing methods in these research areas in order to effectively seize the opportunities available outside of the macroscale.

Left to right: Sid Venkatesh, Ebu Avci, Susav Pradhan, Brian Huynh, Andrew Kemp, Kate Andrew, Matthew Lofroth, Muhammad Rehan and Jack Downing.
  • NEWS 2021

    September 2021: PhD student Rehan, who is working on “robotic capsule for gut microbiota sampling”, won the 2021 Falling Walls Lab competition that is organised by Royal Society Te Apārangi. Rehan also won the people’s choice award based on online voting. As the national winner, Rehan will represent New Zealand during the international Falling Walls Lab competition that is happening in Berlin on 7th of November 2021. Well done Rehan!

    September 2021: Ebu has been invited to be a member of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE-RAS) Technical Committee on Micro/Nano Robotics and Automation.

    September 2021: We have a new paper “Towards Gut Microbiota Sampling Using Untethered Sampling Device” that is published in IEEE Access.

    August 2021: We have a new paper “Optical microlever assisted DNA stretching” that is published in Optics Express.

    July 2021: Master of Engineering student Sid obtained $10k scholarship from Ken and Elizabeth Powell Bursary. This scholarship is given to the exceptional students who contribute to the advancement of technology.

    July 2021: Our conference paper “Mechanical Characterisation of Robotic Capsule Anchoring Mechanism for Gastrointestinal Tract” was the finalist of the best paper and the best student paper awards in the 7th International Conference on Advanced Mechatronics (JSME ICAM 2021), Aichi, Japan.

    May 2021: We have a new paper “Measurement of Peristaltic Forces Exerted by Living Intestine on Robotic Capsule” that is published in IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics.

    March 2021: Ebu is organising “Recent Advances in Micro/Nano Robotics” session in The 7th International Conference on Advanced Mechatronics (ICAM 2021, Aichi, Japan) together with Hisataka Maruyama (Nagoya University, Japan). Submission deadline is 19 March 2021.

    February 2021: Susav Pradhan and Sid Venkatesh join our team as a Research Associate and a Master student respectively. Welcome both!

    February 2021: PhD student Kate Andrew received the student talk prize for her presentation “Optical Micromachines for Molecule Stretching” during the MacDiarmid Institute Annual Symposium and Future Leaders’ Programme in Rotorua, New Zealand. Well done Kate!

    January 2021: We organised a 1-week long MacDiarmid Institute Discovery Camp for High School Students who joined us from various parts of New Zealand.

  • 2020

    December 2020: PhD student Muhammad Rehan’s current project is highlighted in VetScript magazine (the New Zealand Veterinary Association’s publication).

    November 2020: Ebu has been invited to serve as a topic editor for “micromachines” journal.

    October 2020: PhD student Kate Andrew gives us her scientific take on Octiron from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series via RadioNZ Nights’ Materials: Fact or Fiction.

    September 2020: PhD student Muhammad Rehan, who is working on the capsule robot project for gut microbiota sampling, won the 2020 3MT competition organized by the Graduate Research School, Massey University. Rehan also won the people’s choice award based on the online voting by the PhD students through stream. He won 1000 NZD prize money for the first place (judges’ vote) and another 250 NZD for the people’s choice award. Rehan had represented Massey University in the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition, in which 54 universities from Asia and Pacific region participated. Well done Rehan!

    Rehan accepts oversize checks for 1000 NZD prize money for the first place (judges' vote) and another 250 NZD for the people's choice award.

    August 2020: PhD student Kate Andrew received the runner-up award for her “laser-enabled microrobots” presentation during the 2020 IEEE NZ Central Section Postgraduate Symposium at Victoria University of Wellington. Competition included 27 postgraduate students from VUW, Otago and Massey. Well done Kate!

    July 2020: Undergraduate researchers Andrew, Sid and Nick took part in the Undergraduate Student Mechatronics Design Competition that is part of the 2020 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM 2020). Their project was “Piezoelectric Device for Inducing Strain on Cell Samples”. They obtained the first place with a certificate and USD 800. Well done Gentlemen!

    Andrew, Sid and Nick proudly present their first place certificate.

    July 2020: We have a new paper “Capsule Robot for Gut Microbiota Sampling using Shape Memory Alloy Spring” that is published by the International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery – Wiley.

    April 2020: Undergraduate researchers Sid and Nick obtained $10k scholarship from Ken and Elizabeth Powell Bursary. This scholarship is given to the exceptional students who contribute to the advancement of technology.

    February 2020: The Avci research group receives a KiwiNet Emerging Innovator Award ($20k) research sponsorship from the KiwiNet (Kiwi Innovation Network) New Zealand to develop capsule robots.

    February 2020: We have a new review paper with a title “Optical Micromachines for Biological Studies” that published in Micromachines.

    January 2020: Ebu is invited to serve as a Program Committee Member for The 7th International Conference on Advanced Mechatronics (JSME-ICAM 2020), Japan.

    January 2020: We have a new paper published on the development of a “micromanipulator for parasite isolation task” in Micromachines.

  • 2019

    November 2019: Matthew Lofroth joins our team as a PhD student. Welcome Matthew!

    November 2019: Ebu served as an Associate Editor during the paper review process of The 2020 IEEE/SICE International Symposium on System Integration (SII 2020), Hawaii, USA.

    October 2019: Undergraduate student Ben Lewis received the Best Researcher Award for his graduation project “Sampling the Digestive Tract using Capsule Robots” from School of Food and Advanced Technology, Massey University.

    Best Researcher Award certificate, awarded to Ben Lewis.

    August 2019: Ebu is invited to serve as a Program Committee Member for MARSS Conferences (The Annual International Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales).

    August 2019: PhD student Muhammad Rehan received the runner-up award for his micro-gut capsule development work during the IEEE postgraduate presentation day at Massey University, Palmerston North.

    Muhammad Rehan accepts the runner-up award for his micro-gut capsule development work.

    July 2019: Ebu delivered an invited talk “Contact micromanipulation in 3D” at MARSS 2019 – International Conference on Manipulation Automation and Robotics at Small Scales.

    July 2019: Ebu delivered an invited talk “Micro-nano robotics for bio-medical applications” at The Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering, TU Delft, Netherlands.

    May 2019: We have a new paper published on the design of a “compliant micro-gripper” in Micromachines.

    March 2019: Many congratulations to Matthew, JT and Taimoor on completing their Masters!

    March 2019: Ebu has become an Associate Investigator in The MacDiarmid Institute.

  • 2018

    November 2018: Muhammad Rehan joins our team as a PhD student. Welcome Rehan!

    September 2018: Master student Matthew Lofroth received the runner up award for his micro-gripper development work during the IEEE postgraduate presentation day at Victoria University of Wellington.

    Matthew Lofroth accepts the runner up award for his micro-gripper development work

    September 2018: Ebu delivered an invited talk “Micro-Nano Robotics for Life-Science Applications” at the Department of Immunology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Tokyo, Japan.

    August 2018: Ebu has become an Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy.

    June 2018: Kate Andrew joins our team as a PhD student. Welcome Kate!

    March 2018: Matthew, Taimoor and J.T. join our team as Master students. Welcome all!

  • 2017

    November 2017: The Avci research group receives a Marsden Fast Start ($300k) research sponsorship from the Royal Society of New Zealand to study optical nano-machines for analysing molecules.

    October 2017: Our new paper publication “optical micro-robots” makes it to the inside front cover of Advanced Optical Materials.

    Advanced Optical Materials journal

    October 2017: We have a new paper published on “optical micro-robots” in Advanced Optical Materials.