The nanoManipulator is a specialized nanorobot and microscopic viewing system for working with objects on an extremely small scale. The system was designed by the Center for Computer Integrated Systems for Microscopy and Manipulation (CISMM) at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. The term nanoManipulator is a trademark of the current manufacturer, 3rd Tech Inc of Durham, North Carolina.
The nanoManipulator system consists of an optical scanning device, a computer interface and a physical manipulator. The scanning device, known as a scanned-probe microscope (SPM), can magnify images up to approximately 1,000,000 times. The computer interface provides a large, 3-D visual display and produces the effect of TelePresence, giving users the impression that they are observing an enlarged replica of the object. The manipulator provides variable force and motion control, including tactile sensors and feedback devices that provide a "feel" for the object under examination. Sessions with the nanoManipulator can be shared among multiple users at diverse locations.
The nanoManipulator has widespread applications in the physical and biological sciences. The device has been used to evaluate the characteristics of carbon nanotubes, polymers, living cells, disease pathogens, metal particles and microchips.