Tuan Manh Phan

Tuan Manh Phan

Scholar Title

MIT EECS Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Low-Cost Micromanipulator





Research Areas
  • Devices

Joseph Steinmeyer


A common device in many neuroscience and biological laboratories is the motorized micromanipulator, a device that allows precise three-dimensional positioning of instruments with resolutions at or well below one micrometer. However, the cost for a micromanipulator can be tens of thousands of dollars and can be a limiting factor in the work carried out by labs, startups, and hobbyists. This SuperUROP project’ s goal is to build a device that provides similar levels of performance, but at a much lower price point — in the hundreds-of-dollars range — by capitalizing on the recent price drop in many key areas of automation equipment, as well as advances in piezoelectrics and imaging technologies. In accomplishing that and making it open source, we hope to lower the barrier of entry for tasks with highly precise manipulation.


From my previous UROP experience, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of coming up with new ideas and applying my knowledge to develop a new product. This SuperUROP project could continue to benefit me in the same way. I believe I will gain more in-depth knowledge about microcontrollers and the process of designing a different product from an existing idea. By the end of the SuperUROP project, I hope to have a device that showcases my interests and vision.

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