Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

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

Report highlights opportunities and risks associated with synthetic biology and bioengineering November 22nd, 2017

Living computers: RNA circuits transform cells into nanodevices July 27th, 2017

In-cell molecular sieve from protein crystal February 14th, 2017

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

EC Project Aims at Creating and Commercializing Cyber-Physical-System Solutions November 14th, 2017

Nanobiotix presented new clinical and pre-clinical data confirming NBTXR3’s significant potential role in Immuno-Oncology at SITC Annual Meeting November 14th, 2017

Leti Joins DARPA-Funded Project to Develop Implantable Device for Restoring Vision November 9th, 2017

Nanoshells could deliver more chemo with fewer side effects: In vitro study verifies method for remotely triggering release of cancer drugs November 8th, 2017

Possible Futures

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Report highlights opportunities and risks associated with synthetic biology and bioengineering November 22nd, 2017

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy: Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists have invented a new method of spectroscopy November 21st, 2017

Nano-watch has steady hands November 21st, 2017

Nanomedicine

JPK reports on the exciting research in the School of Medicine at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Suwon, South Korea using the NanoWizard® ULTRA Speed AFM to understand the binding of transcription factor Sox2 with super enhancers November 23rd, 2017

Precision NanoSystems to host nanomedicines roundtable November 23rd, 2017

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Nanoparticles could allow for faster, better medicine: Exposure of nanoparticles in the body allows for more effective delivery November 20th, 2017

Sensors

The stacked color sensor: True colors meet minimization November 16th, 2017

Promising sensors for submarines, mines and spacecraft: MSU scientists are developing nanostructured gas sensors that would work at room temperature November 10th, 2017

Practical superconducting nanowire single photon detector with record detection efficiency over 90 percent November 9th, 2017

Dendritic fibrous nanosilica: all-in-one nanomaterial for energy, environment and health November 4th, 2017

Discoveries

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy: Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists have invented a new method of spectroscopy November 21st, 2017

Nano-watch has steady hands November 21st, 2017

Nanoparticles could allow for faster, better medicine: Exposure of nanoparticles in the body allows for more effective delivery November 20th, 2017

Announcements

NanoSummit in Luxembourg: single wall carbon nanotubes have entered our lives as we approach a nanoaugmented future November 23rd, 2017

JPK reports on the exciting research in the School of Medicine at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Suwon, South Korea using the NanoWizard® ULTRA Speed AFM to understand the binding of transcription factor Sox2 with super enhancers November 23rd, 2017

Precision NanoSystems to host nanomedicines roundtable November 23rd, 2017

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

JPK reports on the exciting research in the School of Medicine at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Suwon, South Korea using the NanoWizard® ULTRA Speed AFM to understand the binding of transcription factor Sox2 with super enhancers November 23rd, 2017

Precision NanoSystems to host nanomedicines roundtable November 23rd, 2017

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Nanoparticles could allow for faster, better medicine: Exposure of nanoparticles in the body allows for more effective delivery November 20th, 2017

Research partnerships

Nano Global, Arm Collaborate on Artificial Intelligence Chip to Drive Health Revolution by Capturing and Analyzing Molecular Data in Real Time November 21st, 2017

EC Project Aims at Creating and Commercializing Cyber-Physical-System Solutions November 14th, 2017

Leti Joins DARPA-Funded Project to Develop Implantable Device for Restoring Vision November 9th, 2017

Nanoshells could deliver more chemo with fewer side effects: In vitro study verifies method for remotely triggering release of cancer drugs November 8th, 2017

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