We’ve seen Mosquito sized robots in Sci-fi movies that can go into Human body to provide inner insights and fix problems or introduce a new one (like in matrix). Alternatively, they act as a surveillence device.
Well, it’s not far from reality, thanks to ITU (Israel’s Technion University), they have unveiled a tiny robot, made using Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology. It’s capable of crawling through a human’s veins to provide diagnosis and potentially treat artery blockage and cancer.
This Tiny Robot ( almost 1mm in diameter) is very different from the others we have seen so far. This is powered by a unique source of energy, your body, and external Magnetic fields. It has neither engine nor onboard controls, instead some very Techie coils that allows it to be propelled forward by a magnetic field wielded on it from outside the patient’s body.
Controlling the tiny bot externally means that scientist have been able to shrink it to a previously impossibly tiny scale, allowing it to crawl its way through the typical human body’s veins and arteries using miniscule outstretched arms which grip the vessel walls. Too good to be believeable.
So What about difficulties in Movement?
Scientists bet that the mini bot can even withstand massive blood flow and is able to push forward regardless of the magnetic field actuation direction, doing away with any need for exact localisation and direction retrieval.
The inbuilt controller can move the little crawly creature in increments, with its speed of up to nine millimeters a second regulated by varying external magnetic field frequencies. Outside control also means the robot can be made to work for an unlimited amount of time, rather than suddenly – not to mention inconveniently – keeling over to die of battery failure in the middle of a medical procedure.
The team at ITU quotes:
A small cross sectional area on the tiny robot apparently allows fluids to flow with minimal interference making intra-vascular motion more feasible, and opening up the possibility of minimally invasive medical treatments, as well as diagnosis within the body. Researchers are also apparently toying with the idea of attaching miniscule cameras to the bot, as well as other “tools” it may need to perform internal surgery.
What’s Next? Technion researchers say they’re also looking at putting the ant-like robot to work in urban water distribution systems, to look for any leaks that need plugging. This could be like ants will monitor the current location with a reflective light of these swimming ants in water, if they move out of a specified co-ordinates of the path, there is a potential leak.
The researchers have work-in-progress to commercialize them.