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Discover the robot that can move inside the human body

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If the idea of ​​mini-robots moving inside a human body were considered a work of fiction, everything indicates that within a few years it could be a recurring procedure, according to researchers from the Vanderbilt Universityin Tennessee.

They recently announced a new version of their “Milirobot“, a millimeter long robot that operates by remote control and has the ability to climb inside the human body, specifically designed to move inside the intestine and the alveoli of the lung for applications of drugs and even sensors.

In his previous version, he had difficulty moving due to his lack of adhesion to the inner surface of the human body and fluids, so any sudden movement would dislodge him. This has been resolved in its new version, which now has small needle-filled pads to cling to mucus and not come off easily during movements similar to breathing or digesting.

Second Metin Sittiof Max Planck Institute intelligent systems, in Germany, the positive results with the Milirobot Register “a milestone in lightweight robotics“.

A significant advance for treatments

O Milirobot is made of an ultra-thin elastic magnetic metal, measures 3.7 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, and can support three times its own volume and up to 20 times its own weight, according to the co-author of research, Yingdan Wu.

To be controlled, researchers must use a machine that manipulates the electromagnetic field near the organ, making the Milirobot turn, i.e. when one foot is on the ground, the robot takes the other foot off the surface and rotates the body to take a “step” inside the body.


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As for the hurdle of ensuring that the mucosa could be attached and also released, it was a long one. According to the research co-author, Dong Xiao Guang from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee:

“The team first tried adding pads to the legs that grip tissue, inspired by the way some intestinal parasites attach. But they had trouble replicating the high forces needed – and making sure that the robot breaking free was also tricky.

The solution found by the team of researchers came from something that we Brazilians, at least those who have walked outside, know very well, the smudge.

In order to simulate the same sticking and loosening effect, the “cushion” of needles was covered with a thin layer of chitosan, obtained from the shells of crustaceans, which brought an extremely positive result in the tests, because it now creates friction and stickiness. enough to hold the layer of mucus inside pigs’ lungs and digestive tracts.

During the various tests carried out inside the laboratory, the team was very excited about their results. as the Milirobot it only attaches to the mucous membrane, it does not cause any damage to the internal tissue and this allows it to be used for different types of treatments or even simply to bring materials into organs, such as a heart.

You cannot exclude the idea that in the future we could have many people with tiny robots treating the most diverse diseases.

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Source: The new scientist, Scientific organization

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