Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations

Scientists at EPFL and ETHZ have developed a new method for building microrobots that could be used in the body to deliver drugs and perform other medical operations.
CREDIT: Sakar/ EPFL / EPFZ
Scientists at EPFL and ETHZ have developed a new method for building microrobots that could be used in the body to deliver drugs and perform other medical operations.

CREDIT: Sakar/ EPFL / EPFZ

Abstract:
For the past few years, scientists around the world have been studying ways to use miniature robots to better treat a variety of diseases. The robots are designed to enter the human body, where they can deliver drugs at specific locations or perform precise operations like clearing clogged-up arteries. By replacing invasive, often complicated surgery, they could optimize medicine.

New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations

Lausanne, Switzerland | Posted on July 23rd, 2016

EPFL scientist Selman Sakar teamed up with Hen-Wei Huang and Bradley Nelson at ETHZ to develop a simple and versatile method for building such bio-inspired robots and equipping them with advanced features. They also created a platform for testing several robot designs and studying different modes of locomotion. Their work, published in Nature Communications, produced complex reconfigurable microrobots that can be manufactured with high throughput. They built an integrated manipulation platform that can remotely control the robots' mobility with electromagnetic fields, and cause them to shape-shift using heat.

A robot that looks and moves like a bacterium

Unlike conventional robots, these microrobots are soft, flexible, and motor-less. They are made of a biocompatible hydrogel and magnetic nanoparticles. These nanoparticles have two functions. They give the microrobots their shape during the manufacturing process, and make them move and swim when an electromagnetic field is applied.

Building one of these microrobots involves several steps. First, the nanoparticles are placed inside layers of a biocompatible hydrogel. Then an electromagnetic field is applied to orientate the nanoparticles at different parts of the robot, followed by a polymerization step to "solidify" the hydrogel. After this, the robot is placed in water where it folds in specific ways depending on the orientation of the nanoparticles inside the gel, to form the final overall 3D architecture of the microrobot.

Once the final shape is achieved, an electromagnetic field is used to make the robot swim. Then, when heated, the robot changes shape and "unfolds". This fabrication approach allowed the researchers to build microrobots that mimic the bacterium that causes African trypanosomiasis, otherwise known as sleeping sickness. This particular bacterium uses a flagellum for propulsion, but hides it away once inside a person's bloodstream as a survival mechanism.

The researchers tested different microrobot designs to come up with one that imitates this behavior. The prototype robot presented in this work has a bacterium-like flagellum that enables it to swim. When heated with a laser, the flagellum wraps around the robot's body and is "hidden".

A better understanding of how bacteria behave

"We show that both a bacterium's body and its flagellum play an important role in its movement," said Sakar. "Our new production method lets us test an array of shapes and combinations to obtain the best motion capability for a given task. Our research also provides valuable insight into how bacteria move inside the human body and adapt to changes in their microenvironment."

For now, the microrobots are still in development. "There are still many factors we have to take into account," says Sakar. "For instance, we have to make sure that the microrobots won't cause any side-effects in patients."

###

The other scientists involved in this work are Andrew Petruska and Salvador Pane.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Selman Sakar

41-216-931-095

Copyright © Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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

RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLE:

Related News Press

News and information

Drilling speed increased by 20% – yet another upgrade in the oil & gas sector made possible by graphene nanotubes January 15th, 2019

Chirality in 'real-time' January 14th, 2019

New materials could help improve the performance of perovskite solar cells January 11th, 2019

Media invited to open meeting on the future of quantum technology held at RIT Jan. 23-25: Leaders from NASA, NSF, NIST and Sandia National Laboratory to attend January 11th, 2019

Robotics

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

Mode-Changing MEMS Accelerometer from STMicroelectronics Combines High Measurement Resolution and Ultra-Low Power for Industrial Applications November 7th, 2018

Tiny light detectors work like gecko ears October 30th, 2018

Hydrogels

Researchers create new 'smart' material with potential biomedical, environmental uses November 23rd, 2018

Videos/Movies

WSU researchers develop new technique to understand biology at the nanoscale November 7th, 2018

The National Graphene Association Is Excited To Announce A New Affiliate Partnership With Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) November 7th, 2018

Possible Futures

Chirality in 'real-time' January 14th, 2019

Media invited to open meeting on the future of quantum technology held at RIT Jan. 23-25: Leaders from NASA, NSF, NIST and Sandia National Laboratory to attend January 11th, 2019

Spintronics 'miracle material' put to the test: Physicists build devices using mineral perovskite January 11th, 2019

Cartilage could be key to safe 'structural batteries' January 11th, 2019

Molecular Machines

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

How to mass produce cell-sized robots: Technique from MIT could lead to tiny, self-powered devices for environmental, industrial, or medical monitoring October 24th, 2018

How swarms of nanomachines could improve the efficiency of any machine September 28th, 2018

UT engineers develop first method for controlling nanomotors: Breakthrough for nanotechnology as UT engineers develop first method for switching the mechanical motion of nanomotors September 21st, 2018

Molecular Nanotechnology

The feature size and functional range of molecular electronic devices: Monitoring the transition from tunneling leakage current to molecular tunneling December 16th, 2018

Insights into magnetic bacteria may guide research into medical nanorobots December 12th, 2018

How to mass produce cell-sized robots: Technique from MIT could lead to tiny, self-powered devices for environmental, industrial, or medical monitoring October 24th, 2018

How swarms of nanomachines could improve the efficiency of any machine September 28th, 2018

Nanomedicine

Chirality in 'real-time' January 14th, 2019

Ultra-sensitive sensor with gold nanoparticle array January 9th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Begins Dosing in Phase 1 Study of ARO-ANG3 for Treatment of Dyslipidemias and Metabolic Diseases January 7th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1 Study of ARO-APOC3 for Treatment of Hypertriglyceridemia January 7th, 2019

Discoveries

Chirality in 'real-time' January 14th, 2019

New materials could help improve the performance of perovskite solar cells January 11th, 2019

Spintronics 'miracle material' put to the test: Physicists build devices using mineral perovskite January 11th, 2019

Cartilage could be key to safe 'structural batteries' January 11th, 2019

Announcements

Drilling speed increased by 20% – yet another upgrade in the oil & gas sector made possible by graphene nanotubes January 15th, 2019

Chirality in 'real-time' January 14th, 2019

Spintronics 'miracle material' put to the test: Physicists build devices using mineral perovskite January 11th, 2019

Cartilage could be key to safe 'structural batteries' January 11th, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

2D materials may enable electric vehicles to get 500 miles on a single charge January 11th, 2019

New materials could help improve the performance of perovskite solar cells January 11th, 2019

Spintronics 'miracle material' put to the test: Physicists build devices using mineral perovskite January 11th, 2019

Cartilage could be key to safe 'structural batteries' January 11th, 2019

Nanobiotechnology

Cartilage could be key to safe 'structural batteries' January 11th, 2019

Ultra-sensitive sensor with gold nanoparticle array January 9th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Begins Dosing in Phase 1 Study of ARO-ANG3 for Treatment of Dyslipidemias and Metabolic Diseases January 7th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1 Study of ARO-APOC3 for Treatment of Hypertriglyceridemia January 7th, 2019

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project