Ionic polymer metal composites, a subclass of electro-active polymer actuators, offer a promising approach to the problem of manipulating small objects, such as those found in micro- electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). While other technological alternatives exist, such as piezo-electric devices, each has at least one characteristic impeding its widespread adoption. A new class of ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC) artificial muscles has been developed at the UNM Artificial Muscles Research Institute (AMRI). IPMC actuators and sensors have been designed, fabricated and successfully tested. These artificial muscles are made from ionic polymeric (polyelectrolyte) gels chemically treated with platinum. IPMCs are three-dimensional networks of cross-linked macromolecular polyelectrolytes with internal electrodes that swell, shrink, bend, and deform in an electric field. Thus, direct computer control of large expansions and contractions of ionic polymeric gel-noble metal composite muscles by means of voltage controller has been achieved. They exhibit large motion sensing and actuation capabilities, can be produced relatively inexpensively, and can be cut arbitrarily small. Since these devices require only a few volts for actuation, they represent a safe alternative to many problems. This paper describes the design of a microgripper which uses both the actuation and sensing capabilities of these artificial muscles.