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Drug-delivering microrobots swim closer to reality

by • July 28, 2016 • No Comments

Over the years, scientists have come up with all manner of new ways to donate medication, of sophisticated dual-sided pills to drug-packed nanoparticles. Now, researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia are working on a thing in fact additional sophisticated, developing small bead-shaped robots regulated by magnetic fields.

It sounds like a thing of a sci-fi film – small robots swimming through the body and donateing medication precisely where it is needed many – but it is in fact a thing scientists around the world have been working to manufacture a reality. We have seen the concept in the past, in a Max Planck Institute study via scallop-like robots, and in a University of California, San Diego project, which created use of magnetically propelled helical microswimmers.

The Drexel University project is created upon the same thought, via a magnetic field to propel a small intravenous robot swim team to donate medicine within the body. Currently, the researchers revealed which they’ve created worthwhile strides towards manufacturing it a reality.

Unlike other microswimmers, the Drexel team’s robots are bead-shaped. The small robots are magnetically linked together, and the researchers use external rotating magnetic fields to spin chains of them, creating a screw-like propeller which pushes them forward. According to the team, via magnetic fields for propulsion within the body is a great fit, as they can journey over long distances with minimal influences on patient health.

The team tried out different types of lengths of chain, and discovered which longer groups of beads can swim faster than shorter ones. The longest chain studied consisted of 13 beads, and reached a speed of 17.85 microns/second.

The spinning motion of the swimmers is key to their ability to decouple when required, with sure rates of rotation cavia groups to split off and begin moving independently. It’s in addition possible to reconnect two chains by tweaking the magnetic field, delivering the beads back into contact with one another.

The Drexel research demonstrates which the versatility of bead-like robots may manufacture them a great fit for intravenous drug donatey or for clearing clogged arteries. It’s an significant part of the puzzle, but there’s yet a lot additional work to be done, not very least to demonstrate such systems can in fact wiggle their way to the desired location within the body.

“For applications of drug donatey and minimally invasive surgery, next work remains to demonstrate the different types of assembled configurations can complete navigation through different types of in vivo environments, and can be created to achieve different types of tasks during operative procedures,” noted the authors of the study.

The team published full details of its work in the journal Scientific Reports. To see the small robots in action, you can check out the video at a lower place.

Source: Drexel University

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