A Cost-Effective Integrated Methodology for Electromagnetic Actuation via Visual Feedback

Shuwan Chen, Damiano Padovani*, Andrea Cioncolini*, Angelo Alessandri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electromagnetic actuation can support many fields of technology, such as robotics or biomedical applications. In this context, fully understanding the system behavior and proposing a low-cost package for feedback control is challenging. Modeling the electromagnetic force is particularly tricky because it is a nonlinear function of the actuated object’s position and coil’s current. Measuring in real time the position of the actuated object with the precision required for accurate motion control is also nontrivial. In this study, we propose a novel, cost-effective electromagnetic set-up to achieve position control via visual feedback. We actuated vertically and under different experimental conditions a 10 mm diameter steel ball hanging on a low-stiffness spring, demonstrating good tracking performance (the position error remained within ±0.5 mm, with a negligible phase delay in the best scenarios). The experimental results confirm the feasibility of the proposed set-up, which is characterized by minimum complexity and realized with off-the-shelf and cost-effective components. For these reasons, such a contribution helps to understand and apply electromagnetic actuation even further.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2760
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2024


  • closed-loop feedforward control
  • magnetic microrobots
  • magnetic-driven actuation
  • real-time machine vision

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