Robotic Pick-And-Place of Multiple Embryos for Vitrification

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Zhuoran Zhang
  • Xian Wang
  • Qili Zhao
  • Chao Zhou
  • Min Tan
  • Huayan Pu
  • Shaorong Xie
  • Yu Sun


Original languageEnglish
Article number7784719
Pages (from-to)570-576
Journal / PublicationIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Online published15 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


Embryo vitrification is an essential cryopreservation technique in IVF (in vitro fertilization) clinics. Vitrification involves pick-and-place of an embryo in multiple types of cryoprotectant solutions for processing before placing the embryo on a vitrification straw for cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen. Manual operation and existing robotic vitrification are only capable of aspirating one embryo at a time for processing; thus, other embryos are kept in the culture dish on a microscope stage for tens of minutes, which is detrimental to the development potential of the embryos. In order to minimize the total vitrification time, we have recently developed a robotic system for the pick-and-place of multiple embryos and process every three embryos as a group. Visual detection algorithms were developed for locating multiple embryos in three dimensions. Dynamics of embryo motion was modeled and a linear quadratic regulator (LQR) controller was developed to aspirate each embryo with a minimum volume of excess medium. The robotic system then placed the embryos onto vitrification straws by depositing a thin layer of medium that contains the embryos, and finally, aspirated away the medium surrounding the embryo for fast cooling. Experimental results demonstrate that robotic multiembryo processing has a throughput three times that of manual operation and achieved a high success rate of 95.2%, embryo survival rate of 90.0%, and development rate of 88.8%.

Research Area(s)

  • Automation atMicro-Nano Scales, Biological Cell Manipulation

Citation Format(s)

Robotic Pick-And-Place of Multiple Embryos for Vitrification. / Zhang, Zhuoran; Liu, Jun; Wang, Xian; Zhao, Qili; Zhou, Chao; Tan, Min; Pu, Huayan; Xie, Shaorong; Sun, Yu.

In: IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol. 2, No. 2, 7784719, 04.2017, p. 570-576.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review