University of Waterloo undergraduates capture international microrobotics crown

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Shanghai, China (Thursday, May 12, 2011)

The University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group has brought microrobotics dominance to Canada with a world championship victory. At the Microassembly Challenge, the purely undergraduate team beat out over 10 other registered teams from top institutions internationally, including entrants from the United States, France, and Italy. The challenge is a featured event at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2011.

University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group’s microrobot, measuring a mere half-millimeter in width and a hundredth of a millimeter in height, was the only robot at the competition to successfully manipulate microscale triangles into a tightly packed formation – a formidable challenge requiring extreme precision and reliability. These principles have several critical applications in everything from minimally-invasive surgery to advanced electronics manufacturing.

This year’s entry from University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group applied fundamental magnetic principles in an extremely robust and functional package, coupled with an advanced, custom-built control and image recognition system.

We knew that focusing on the fundamentals was a key to success. We’ve proven that Waterloo undergraduates can play and win against top academics around the world,

said Dusan Sarenac, fabrication lead for University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group.

University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group would like to thank faculty advisor Dr. Mustafa Yavuz, as well as Dr. Rafaat Mansour, Dr. Bo Cui, Dr. Baris Fidan, Salam Gabran, Feyruz Kitapli, and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology for their invaluable advice and fabrication support.

University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group’s operations are made possible by generous support from AMD, Zaber Technologies, and The Imaging Source, as well as support from the University of Waterloo: the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering department, the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, the Dean of Engineering Office, the Office of the Provost, the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund, and the Engineering Society.

For more information, press materials, and media inquiries, please contact Derek Bennewies, University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group Project Director, at, or by phone at 647-983-3982.

About University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group

The University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group is Canada’s premier nanotechnology student organization. Consisting exclusively of undergraduate students from the University of Waterloo, University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group has been straddling the divide between research group and student team since its first ambitious design was drawn on a napkin in 2007. Beyond competing annually at the ICRA, University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group organizes and participates in seminars, tutorials, and community outreach sessions.

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