Magnetically aligned nanorods in alginate capsules (MANiACs): Soft matter tumbling robots for manipulation and drug delivery

Lamar O. Mair, Sagar Chowdhury, Genaro A. Paredes-Juarez, Maria Guix, Chenghao Bi, Benjamin Johnson, Bradley W. English, Sahar Jafari, James Baker-McKee, Jamelle Watson-Daniels, Olivia Hale, Pavel Stepanov, Danica Sun, Zachary Baker, Chad Ropp, Shailesh B. Raval, Dian R. Arifin, Jeff W.M. Bulte, Irving N. Weinberg, Benjamin A. EvansDavid J. Cappelleri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Soft, untethered microrobots composed of biocompatible materials for completing micromanipulation and drug delivery tasks in lab-on-a-chip and medical scenarios are currently being developed. Alginate holds significant potential in medical microrobotics due to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, and drug encapsulation capabilities. Here, we describe the synthesis of MANiACs-Magnetically Aligned Nanorods in Alginate Capsules-for use as untethered microrobotic surface tumblers, demonstrating magnetically guided lateral tumbling via rotating magnetic fields. MANiAC translation is demonstrated on tissue surfaces as well as inclined slopes. These alginate microrobots are capable of manipulating objects over millimeter-scale distances. Finally, we demonstrate payload release capabilities of MANiACs during translational tumbling motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number230
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Alginate capsules
  • Magnetic microrobots
  • Magnetic nanorods
  • Micromanipulation
  • Rotating magnetic fields
  • Surface walkers
  • Tumbling robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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