Disnibuted Manipulation Environment (DME), is a concept based on the overall modularity of a manufacturing system including actuation, sensing, control, computing hardware and software. The basic building block of DME is the Manipulation Module (MM). Each MM may consist of up to three units including processing the unit, actuating unit and sensory unit. The emphasis of this paper is on the actuating unit of the Manipulation Modules used in DME. The generic features of the actuators suitable for this application are discussed and a review of the motion producing characteristics of the following actuator technologies is presented: electrostatic, electromagnetic, fluid power, shape memory alloys, piezoelectric materials, magnetorestrictive materials, charge sensitive gels and elecmrheological fluids. The conclusion suggests that electromagnetic and fluid power technologies still appear to be the most suitable and practical actuator technologies for miniature DME.