An optical manipulation system that employs both optical and temperature gradients to simultaneously enable trapping, manipulating and imaging of live cells with a low magnification, low numerical aperture objective lens (10x/0.4 N.A.) is reported. This approach negates the requirement for a high N.A. lens used in traditional optical trapping. Our system comprised a dual scanning system and two independent lasers which provided the ability to move the trapping spot independently of the confocal imaging process in close to real-time and without pre-programming. To demonstrate the efficacy of this innovative method, trapping and manipulation of live T cells was simultaneously performed over a field of view exceeding 1 mm(2) for extended periods without compromising cell viability.