New system may one day steer microrobots through blood vessels for disease treatment

Dec 16, 2011

Researchers use a magnetic field to generate both side-to-side and corkscrew-like motions of tiny robots.

Microscopic-scale medical robots represent a promising new type of therapeutic technology. As envisioned, the microbots, which are less than one millimeter in size, might someday be able to travel throughout the to deliver drugs to specific targets or seek out and destroy tumors, blood clots, and infections that can't be easily accessed in other ways.

One challenge in the deployment of microbots, however, is developing a system to accurately "drive" them and maneuver them through the complex and convoluted circulatory system, to a chosen destination. Researchers from Korea's Hanyang University in Seoul and Chonnam National University in Gwangju now describe, in the AIP's Proceedings of the 56th Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, a new navigation system that uses an to generate two distinct types of microbot movements: "helical", or corkscrew-like, motions, which propel the microbots forward or backward, or even allow them to "dig" into or other obstructions; and "translational," or side-to-side motions, which allow the 'bots to, for example, veer into one side of a branched artery.

In lab tests, the researchers used the system to accurately steer a microbot through a mock blood vessel filled with water. The work, the researchers say, could be extended to the "precise and effective manipulation of a microbot in several organs of the human body, such as the , the urinary system, the eye, and others."

Explore further: Researchers demonstrate ultra low-field nuclear magnetic resonance using Earth's magnetic field

More information: "Magnetic Navigation Systems for the Precise Helical and Translational Motions of a Microrobot in Human Blood Vessels" is part of the Proceedings of the 56th Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, to be published in the Journal of Applied Physics in April.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Using magnets to help prevent heart attacks

Jun 07, 2011

If a person's blood becomes too thick it can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attacks. But a Temple University physicist has discovered that he can thin the human blood by subjecting it to a magnetic field.

Is Your Microrobot Up for the (NIST) Challenge?

Oct 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The scientists and engineers who introduced the world to tiny robots demonstrating soccer skills are creating the next level of friendly competition designed to advance microrobotics -- the ...

Substance in cancer medicine could prevent heart attacks

Nov 23, 2011

A substance in medicines for cancer and epilepsy could also prevent heart attacks, according to researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who have been using it to stimulate ...

Can MRI drive a medical robot?

Oct 03, 2011

Engineers at Children’s Hospital Boston have demonstrated the ability to program the magnetic field generated by a clinical MRI scanner to motorize and control a robotic instrument – in this case, a surgical biopsy ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ScienceFreak86
not rated yet Dec 16, 2011
Singularity is near, Ray Kurzweil most insane predictions slowly(step by step)...are coming.
Nanobanano
5 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2011
Singularity is near, Ray Kurzweil most insane predictions slowly(step by step)...are coming.


I coudl envision clothing with solar PV cells on the outside, lined with small electromagnets on the inside and computer control systems to guide permanent nano-bots through the blood stream of the entire body.

Some sort of implant could be devised which would filter the blood to sort back out the nano-bots, and then interface with them to reprogram and re-charge them from the excess solar power.

The ability to perform targetted removal of plaque/cholesterol, viruses, bacteria, and cancers from the blood stream would be beyond anything yet imagined in medicine.
Intensero
not rated yet Dec 16, 2011
Can't wait for more info on this...keep up the good work!:-)