Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > The 'living' micro-robot that could detect diseases in humans

Sea Lamprey1: a Sea Lamprey mouth, close up
Copyright 'Great Lakes Fishery Commission'
Sea Lamprey1: a Sea Lamprey mouth, close up

Copyright 'Great Lakes Fishery Commission'

Abstract:
A tiny prototype robot that functions like a living creature is being developed which one day could be safely used to pinpoint diseases within the human body.

Called 'Cyberplasm', it will combine advanced microelectronics with latest research in biomimicry (technology inspired by nature). The aim is for Cyberplasm to have an electronic nervous system, 'eye' and 'nose' sensors derived from mammalian cells, as well as artificial muscles that use glucose as an energy source to propel it.

The 'living' micro-robot that could detect diseases in humans

Swindon, UK | Posted on March 29th, 2012

The intention is to engineer and integrate robot components that respond to light and chemicals in the same way as biological systems. This is a completely innovative way of pushing robotics forward.

Cyberplasm is being developed over the next few years as part of an international collaboration funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA. The UK-based work is taking place at Newcastle University. The project originated from a 'sandpit' (idea gathering session) on synthetic biology jointly funded by the two organisations.

Cyberplasm will be designed to mimic key functions of the sea lamprey, a creature found mainly in the Atlantic Ocean. It is believed this approach will enable the micro-robot to be extremely sensitive and responsive to the environment it is put into. Future uses could include the ability to swim unobtrusively through the human body to detect a whole range of diseases.

The sea lamprey has a very primitive nervous system, which is easier to mimic than more sophisticated nervous systems. This, together with the fact that it swims, made the sea lamprey the best candidate for the project team to base Cyberplasm on.

Once it is developed the Cyberplasm prototype will be less than 1cm long. Future versions could potentially be less than 1mm long or even built on a nanoscale.

"Nothing matches a living creature's natural ability to see and smell its environment and therefore to collect data on what's going on around it," says bioengineer Dr Daniel Frankel of Newcastle University, who is leading the UK-based work.

Cyberplasm's sensors are being developed to respond to external stimuli by converting them into electronic impulses that are sent to an electronic 'brain' equipped with sophisticated microchips. This brain will then send electronic messages to artificial muscles telling them how to contract and relax, enabling the robot to navigate its way safely using an undulating motion.

Similarly, data on the chemical make-up of the robot's surroundings can be collected and stored via these systems for later recovery by the robot's operators.

Cyberplasm could also represent the first step on the road to important advances in, for example, advanced prosthetics where living muscle tissue might be engineered to contract and relax in response to stimulation from light waves or electronic signals.

"We're currently developing and testing Cyberplasm's individual components," says Daniel Frankel. "We hope to get to the assembly stage within a couple of years. We believe Cyberplasm could start being used in real-world situations within five years".

The UK element of the Cyberplasm project is a three-year initiative that is receiving EPSRC funding of just over £298,000.

The Cyberplasm team includes:

Professor Joseph Ayers, Northeastern University, USA (animal robots expert)

Professor Vlad Parpura, University of Alabama, USA (neuroscientist)

Professor Chris Voigt, MIT, USA (synthetic biologist)

Dr Daniel Frankel, Newcastle University (bioengineer).

####

About Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £800 million a year in a broad range of subjects – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering. www.epsrc.ac.uk

About NSF

NSF is an independent federal agency created by the US Congress in 1950. With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), it is the funding source for approximately 20 per cent of all federally-supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields, such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing. www.nsf.gov

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
EPSRC Press Office

44 01-793-444-404

Dr Daniel Frankel
School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials
Newcastle University
Tel:44 0191-222-6782

Copyright © Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

For more information on the synthetic biology sandpit that led to this collaboration between EPSRC and NSF visit:

Related News Press

Synthetic Biology

Scientists Create Synthetic Membranes That Grow Like Living Cells June 22nd, 2015

$8.5M Grant For Developing Nano Printing Technology: 4-D printing to advance chemistry, materials sciences and defense capabilities June 18th, 2015

How natural channel proteins move in artificial membranes June 3rd, 2015

Researchers of the University of Tartu create a centre for developing designer cells with new functions April 8th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Surfing a wake of light: Researchers observe and control light wakes for the first time July 6th, 2015

New technology using silver may hold key to electronics advances July 2nd, 2015

NIST Group Maps Distribution of Carbon Nanotubes in Composite Materials July 2nd, 2015

Ultra-stable JILA microscopy technique tracks tiny objects for hours July 1st, 2015

Possible Futures

BBC World Service to broadcast Forum discussion on graphene July 6th, 2015

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company D-Wave Systems Announces 1,000 Qubit Processor and is Discussed in the Economist June 23rd, 2015

Global Nanoclays Market Analysis, Size, Growth, Trends And Segment Forecasts, 2015 To 2022: Grand View Research, Inc June 15th, 2015

Nanomedicine

A Stretchy Mesh Heater for Sore Muscles July 6th, 2015

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

Iranian Scientists Find Simple, Economic Method to Synthesize Antibacterial Nanoparticles July 2nd, 2015

Sensors

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

New micro-supercapacitor structure inspired by the intricate design of leaves: A team of scientists in Korea has devised a new method for making a graphene film for supercapacitors July 2nd, 2015

Carnegie Mellon chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels: Methods will allow researchers to develop new 'smart' materials June 30th, 2015

Discoveries

Fundamental observation of spin-controlled electrical conduction in metals: Ultrafast terahertz spectroscopy yields direct insight into the building block of modern magnetic memories July 6th, 2015

Surfing a wake of light: Researchers observe and control light wakes for the first time July 6th, 2015

Transition from 3 to 2 dimensions increases conduction, MIPT scientists discover July 6th, 2015

A Stretchy Mesh Heater for Sore Muscles July 6th, 2015

Announcements

Surfing a wake of light: Researchers observe and control light wakes for the first time July 6th, 2015

Tel Aviv/Tsinghua University project uses crowd computing to improve water filtration: The research, a product of the new TAU-Tsinghua XIN Center, was conducted by 150,000 volunteers at IBM's World Community Grid July 6th, 2015

Transition from 3 to 2 dimensions increases conduction, MIPT scientists discover July 6th, 2015

A Stretchy Mesh Heater for Sore Muscles July 6th, 2015

Nanobiotechnology

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

Engineering the world’s smallest nanocrystal July 2nd, 2015

Nanometric sensor designed to detect herbicides can help diagnose multiple sclerosis June 23rd, 2015

Newly-Developed Biosensor in Iran Detects Cocaine Addiction June 23rd, 2015

Research partnerships

Fundamental observation of spin-controlled electrical conduction in metals: Ultrafast terahertz spectroscopy yields direct insight into the building block of modern magnetic memories July 6th, 2015

Surfing a wake of light: Researchers observe and control light wakes for the first time July 6th, 2015

Tel Aviv/Tsinghua University project uses crowd computing to improve water filtration: The research, a product of the new TAU-Tsinghua XIN Center, was conducted by 150,000 volunteers at IBM's World Community Grid July 6th, 2015

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project