Scientists are currently working on mini robots that would be able to swim inside our bodies and help cure us. They could one day be able to help doctors construct and assemble life-saving devices within the human body. They will have to be injected into the body. In this era of technology, we are witnessing the fusion of medical knowledge and technology for the betterment of human life. We have examples of pacemakers, hearing aids and many other such inventions.
A research published in the journal of “Advance Functional Materials” gives us an idea about the infrastructure being laid for this idea to flourish. Eric Diller and Metin Sitti of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have come up with an uncomplicated version of micro robots using rods made of magnetic materials. “We need to make things smaller to get inside the body easier, but if they are too small, they are not really useful,” Dr. Metin Sitti of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh said. “You want to assemble the robot inside the body.” Experiments have proved that nano robots possess the capability of transferring small objects and assembling these objects.
The length of each robot is about 1mm and each possesses two gripping arms. These robots take the help of a magnetic field in order to move and grip. Older versions lacked the property of moving and gripping objects simultaneously. Sitti seems confident that future robots could be injected into the body alongside their parts. He is hopeful that they would be able to fasten the clotting process of the wounds. With more advancements, they could be able to assemble larger, and relatively perplexed machines within our bodies that could assist aging organs perform their function normally for a longer period of time.
FDA approved the use of pill cameras in 2011. But, they are not commonly used in hospitals. They are only able to perform their imaging duty, and are deficient when it comes to self propulsion. Dr Sitti is working on a capsule that would allow doctors to maneuver the capsule from outside the body. After storing the drug inside the capsule, a doctor may be able to make it release at the exact location where he intends to. “Once reliable control is obtained, to increase the capabilities of the device, the capsule can be equipped with tools for performing a tissue biopsy or for cleaning or cauterizing wound sites,” wrote the authors.
Invention of these sorts of devices and robots will make the job of doctors relatively easy. It will grant them unparalleled access and control. This will help them tackle fatal and deadly diseases in a better fashion. This micro level control will open ways for the different treatment options. This whole concept of these tiny robots wandering inside our bodies may sound a bit fictional. But, this is very much a possibility that this technology will be arriving to our hospitals very soon.
Here is an interesting talk recently given at TEDxZurich on medical robots