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Tiny robots that swim through the body treating diseases created by scientists

23.07.2022 04:13 AM
Tiny robots that swim through the body treating diseases created by scientists
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You may have seen the famous 1966 sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage, in which some people have shrunk to a microscopic level so they can penetrate the brain of a stroke-stricken scientist in the hope of curing it.

But, did you know that today this is no longer science fiction? Because scientists have been able to design precise robots that can navigate inside the body to deliver medicine to areas of disease.

Precision robots

Some medications can target areas of pain. However, there are some pains that medicines cannot reach. Therefore, in recent years, biomedical researchers have begun to search for more effective ways to direct drugs to areas of pain, so that they can treat more complex diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Millirobots are among the latest advances in targeted biomedicine. With their ability to roam, swim and rotate in confined spaces while delivering medication, these tiny robots, which are the size of fingertips, promise a new future in medicine.

And recently, researchers at Stanford University in the United States, led by Renny Chao, were able to develop a number of millimeter robots, including a magnetic crawler robot that was recently able to access through the stomach.

Self-propelled magnetic robots

According to the study published in the journal Science Advances, robots equipped with magnetic fields - developed by Zhao's research team - can move continuously. The magnetic field of these robots can also be modified to control how they move.

These robots were able to choose the appropriate movement condition for themselves, and they could also overcome obstacles inside the body. In addition, these robots were able - each time - to reach distances estimated at 10 times their length, by changing the strength and direction of the magnetic field.

In a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications on June 14, the team was able to develop a 7.8 mm robot with an amphibious nature. He can swim in the water or navigate the terrain. Hence, a robot like this is very useful for drug delivery in hybrid environments within the body; as in the urinary and digestive systems.

More effective drug delivery

And this wireless robot can spin. According to Zhao, "The way the robot folds enables it to perform certain movements. When it folds like an accordion, it presses the medicine inside."

In addition, the team looked at how the exact dimensions of each fold affect the robot's movement. These considerations have given researchers a broader horizon, enabling them to take advantage of the physical properties of the robot without adding many resources.

Zhao points out that "the more functions that can be achieved from one structure, the less invasive and harmful the medical process is to the body."

There are some other engineering features in the robot's design. The longitudinal hole in the center of the robot as well as the side slits help reduce water resistance, enabling the robot to swim better.

Zhao states that this design "provides a kind of negative pressure, which helps the robot to swim fast, while at the same time enabling the robot to suck and pick up goods for transportation."

Thus, robots like this would not only provide an easy way to effectively direct and dispense drugs, but could also be used to carry some microscopic instruments or microscopic cameras into the body.

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