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Scientists have developed robots that are designed to move inside the body.
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne and Federal Institute of Technology Zurich researchers engineered microscopic robots that are meant to deliver drugs to afflicted parts inside the body. These five-millimeter robots have the ability to alter their shape and size as they travel through the human body. As a result, the robots can smoothly move along dense liquids.
Because the robots are made of a gel that has heat-sensitive and electromagnetic properties, they can be controlled outside the human body. At the same time, the robots can move independently as they are outfitted with a tail that enables them to swim and follow the flow of fluids in the body.
To test the robots’ mobility, the researchers had the robots navigate their way through confined glass pathways that resemble human blood vessels. Inside the pathways, the robots moved through liquids that had different widths and flowed at varying speeds.
Results of the tests showed that the robots were indeed capable of traveling through the pathways. They were also able to modify their physical form depending on the environment.
Currently, the researchers are looking into possible improvements that will allow the robots to travel through various fluids in the body.
The researchers believe that these microscopic robots can change the way medical practitioners administer drugs. As the robots will be able to target specific areas in the body, this method of drug delivery can reduce side effects among patients. Additionally, this innovation is expected to set the stage for less invasive medical treatment.