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Cell micromanipulation with an active handheld micromanipulator.
The paper describes the use of an active handheld micromanipulator, known as Micron, for micromanipulation of cells. The device enables users to manipulate objects on the order of tens of microns in size, with the natural ease of use of a fully handheld tool. Micron senses its own position using a purpose-built microscale optical tracker, estimates the erroneous or undesired component of hand motion, and actively corrects it by deflecting its own tool tip using piezoelectric actuators. Benchtop experiments in tip positioning show that active compensation can reduce positioning error by up to 51% compared to unaided performance. Preliminary experiments in bisection of sea urchin embryos exhibit an increased success rate when performed with the help of Micron.