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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Remote-Controlled Microrobots Are Now Available for Surgeries

Cecile G. Tamura

Scientists worldwide have been looking at ways to treat various diseases using miniature robots over the last few years. These robots would be able to replace complicated and invasive surgeries such as opening up clogged arteries or delivering medicine to specific locations in the body.
A scientist from EPFL named Selman Sakar along with Bradley Nelson and Hen-Wei Huang from ETHZ worked together to create a method to build these robots, which are equipped with advanced features. At the same time they also developed a testing platform for multiple designs and examined various types of locomotion. As a result they were able to put together microrobots that were both complex and reconfigurable. The manipulation platform was also built to control the robots remotely through electromagnetic fields and allow them to shift their shapes by using heat....

Robots can be scaled down to the micrometer scale for tiny tasks such as puncturing retinal veins and incising tissue. Researchers at Drexel University have developed a manufacturing method that utilizes the minimum geometric requirements for fluid motion. This means they are now able to make simpler, smaller microrobots consisting of two micro particles that are conjoined and then coated with bits of magnetic debris.

Since it is extremely difficult to shrink batteries to the size of bacteria, the microrobots are exposed to an external magnetic field to control and maneuver them. The iron oxide debris coating is affected by the magnetic field, causing the microrobots to spin and
move around in a way that is similar to bacterial
Collaboration between EPFL and ETHZ produced a new technique for building microrobots that could be used to deliver drugs and perform other medical operations in the human body.
(Image Credit: Selman Sakar)