‘Swallowable surgeons’: Battalion of salt-crystal sized microbots in development that could revolutionize medicine

Artistic depiction of an army of microscopic robots. Credit: Criss Hohmann

Drs. Marc Miskin, Itai Cohen, and Paul McEuen at Cornell University spearheaded a collaboration that tackled one of the most pressing problems in microrobotics—getting those robots to move in a controllable manner. They graced us with an army of Pop-Tart-shaped microbots with seriously tricked-out actuators, or motors that allow a robot to move.

Each smaller than the width of a human hair, the bots have a blocky body equipped with solar cells and two pairs of platinum legs, which can be independently triggered to flex using precise laser zaps. The control is so accurate that the team was able to simultaneously jigger the legs of a battalion of microbots in a coordinated “march.”

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

While it’s still up to anyone’s imagination how these bots can carry their own energy supply, there’s no doubt they already have a leg up in that they can be far more easily upgraded. Thanks to a “classic” circuit-based brain, these bots can be far more easily integrated with traditional silicon-based micro-electronics, compared to those, say, that operate on magnets, bringing us closer to the vision of a “swallowable surgeon.”

Related article:  Can ‘golden child’ anti-aging drugs rescue Alzheimer’s memories?

“Controlling a tiny robot is maybe as close as you can come to shrinking yourself down. I think machines like these are going to take us into all kinds of amazing worlds that are too small to see,” said study author Miskin.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: What are mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and how do they work?

Infographic: What are mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and how do they work?

As of 1 December 2020, thirteen vaccines have reached the final stage of testing: where they are being given to ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend