This may sound like the plot of “Fantastic Journey,” but miniature robots that can travel around the human body and distribute drugs will soon be realized.
Scientists at Stanford University have developed a “millirobot” that can roll, turn, rotate, and even swim in narrow spaces.
The fingertip-sized machine is inspired by the art of Japanese origami paper folding and can be controlled by magnets – it delivers drugs directly to the tumor, blood clot, infection or sore spot.
Researchers say that the Millirobot could revolutionize medicine by replacing pills or intravenous injections that could cause unwanted side effects.
In 1966, on the sci-fi classic “Fantastic Journey,” the submarine and its crew shrank, pierced the dying patient, penetrated his brain through his veins, and removed the barrier with a laser gun.
Origami millirobot, has a bending engine. The finger-sized machine is inspired by the Japanese art of folding origami and is controlled by magnets.
In 1966, on a science-fiction classic fantasy voyage, a submarine and its crew injected a needle into a dying patient, penetrated his brain through his veins, and used a laser gun to break the barrier.
The new millirobot is less than a third of an inch (7.8 mm) wide and is equipped with a magnetic plate.
The new millirobot is less than a third of an inch (7.8 mm) in size and is equipped with a magnetic plate.
It can move quickly through the smooth surfaces of the body, is uneven and can float through body fluids and move wirelessly while transporting liquid drugs.
Unlike ingested tablets or injectable liquids, Rene Zhao, a mechanical engineer at Stanford University, says that it holds drugs “until they reach their intended purpose and then release a high concentration of the drug.”
“In this way, our robot will be able to deliver targeted drugs,” he said.
The basic new design surpasses most origami-based robots, which only use folding to control their change and movement.
It is also useful for certain activities, such as squeezing medicines with a folding motion – just as an accordion squeezes air out.
Dr. Zhao and his team also looked at how the rigidity of the robot’s unfolded shape helps it move through the environment.
This allowed the U.S. team to get more without adding volume.
The more functionality a structure achieves, the more invasive the procedure, Dr. Zhao explained.
Another unique aspect of the design is a combination of some geometric features, including a long hole in the center and a hole at the top of the sides – to reduce water resistance and increase efficiency.
Dr. Zhao said, “This design creates a negative pressure on the robot to swim fast and at the same time provides suction to pick up and transport the load.
“We take full advantage of the geometric features of this little robot and study that unique structure for different applications and different functions.”
The Millirobot can swim through body fluids, release drugs without reaching a goal, and then release a high concentration of the drug.
According to Rene Zhao, a mechanical engineer at Stanford University, the new millirobot can quickly penetrate the smooth, uneven surfaces of the body.
Dr. Zhao is working on several different millirobot designs, including a magnetic reptile robot that passes through the stomach.
This robot also works with magnetic fields, allowing it to move continuously and change direction instantly.
The methods of rapid movement are chosen independently, depending on the obstacles that must be overcome in the body – from the organs to the flow of fluid.
According to Dr. Zhao, by changing the strength and direction of the magnetic field, a bot can swim ten times its length with a single leap.
The first new robot to swim is one of the most remote robots.
The robot is currently being tested before experiments on animals. If they are successful, the man will undergo clinical trials.
The “Millirobot” can roll, turn, turn, even swim and enter a narrow space.
Dr. Zhao also plans to continue shrinking his robots to continue biomedical research on a micro scale.
We hope that his robots will eventually be able to bring instruments or cameras into the body, give them medicine, and change the way doctors examine patients.
“We’re starting to see that it all works in parallel,” he said.
“This is a very unique point in this work, and it has great potential in the biomedical field.”
The study, funded by the National Science Foundation and the American Heart Association, was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Small robots can be sent on a journey to human brains by a California startup
According to a California-based startup, miniature robots can sense deep in the human brain and treat diseases that cannot be achieved by other methods.
Bionaut Labs plans to conduct the first clinical trials in humans in two years, and its tiny injection robots will be carefully controlled by magnets through the brain.
Working with the prestigious Max Planck research institutes in Germany, they sat on magnets to move the robot because it does not harm the human body.
Magnetic coils placed on the outside of the patient’s skull are connected to a computer that can remotely and carefully control the micro-robot in the affected part of the brain.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved clinical trials to treat Dandy-Walker syndrome, as well as malignant gliomas, a commonly malignant brain tumor.