Automated Selection and Placement of Single Cells Using Vision-Based Feedback Control (pdf)
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.