Shapiro, Benjamin

Benjamin Shapiro
Fischell Department of Bioengineering
Institute for Systems Research
A. James Clark School of Engineering
2246 Jeong H. Kim Building
General Research Interests: 
  • Precision control of magnetic fields to deliver therapy to and achieve imaging of clinical targets, including targets in the brain
  • Intersection of control theory and miniaturized systems in modeling, design, and control of micro- and nano-scale systems for applications in electronics, biology, and clinical practice
  • Applications where control can dramatically improve or allow new system capabilities, with the goal of demonstrating the entire pathway from initial application choices, to system modeling, phrasing of application goals as tractable control problems, control algorithm development, and experimental validation
  • Combination of theory, numerics, and experiments
Ben Shapiro is primarily intersted in research at the intersection of control theory and micro systems. His research group focuses on model based control design with validation via experiments. Roughly speaking, they do 50% modeling, 30% control design, and 20% fabrication and experiments.
Micro systems provide actuation and sensing capabilities on micrometer scales: a length that is commensurate with the size of micro-organisms and which allows direct access to biological phenomena. Control theory provides methods which allow intelligent fusion of sensor and actuator capabilities to perform complex tasks in the presence of noise and uncertainty. The marriage between the two areas is natural: micro-systems allow tremendous actuation and sensing capabilities but they have to deal with uncertain and largely unknown environments; control theory provides mathematical tools to design sensor/actuator combinations that will perform complex, coordinated tasks, but it requires novel hardware that can implement such decisions.
Current examples include modeling/control of devices with electrically actuated surface tension, modeling of component filling in micro-fluidic networks with thousands of components, modeling and optimization of micro conjugated polymer (conducting plastic) actuators, and steering control of single particles in micro-fluidic systems aimed at targeted cell positioning, cell sorting based on visual data, and directed cell-to-cell or cell-to-other collisions.