This paper presents a system for mechanically characterizing single cells using automated micropipette aspiration. Using vision-based control and position control, the system controls a micromanipulator, a motorized translation stage, and a custom-built pressure system to position a micropipette (4
m opening) to approach a cell, form a seal, and aspirate the cell into the micropipette for quantifying the cell’s elastic and viscoelastic parameters as well as viscosity. Image processing algorithms were developed to provide controllers with real-time visual feedback and to accurately measure cell deformation behavior on line. Experiments on both solid-like and liquid-like cells demonstrated that the system is capable of efficiently performing single-cell micropipette aspiration and has low operator skill requirements.