Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



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

New organic molecule shatters phosphorescence efficiency records and paves way for rare metal-free applications July 5th, 2024

Single atoms show their true color July 5th, 2024

New method cracked for high-capacity, secure quantum communication July 5th, 2024

Searching for dark matter with the coldest quantum detectors in the world July 5th, 2024

Robotics

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

A color-based sensor to emulate skin's sensitivity: In a step toward more autonomous soft robots and wearable technologies, EPFL researchers have created a device that uses color to simultaneously sense multiple mechanical and temperature stimuli December 8th, 2023

Femtosecond laser technique births "dancing microrobots": USTC's breakthrough in multi-material microfabrication August 11th, 2023

A solid understanding of liquid-solid interaction: Pitt researcher receives $300K from the NSF to explore motion of viscous liquids interacting with solid bodies June 30th, 2023

Hydrogels

Shrinking hydrogels enlarge nanofabrication options: Researchers from Pittsburgh and Hong Kong print intricate, 2D and 3D patterns December 29th, 2022

The deformation of the hydrogel is used to measure the negative pressure of water April 22nd, 2022

Videos/Movies

New X-ray imaging technique to study the transient phases of quantum materials December 29th, 2022

Solvent study solves solar cell durability puzzle: Rice-led project could make perovskite cells ready for prime time September 23rd, 2022

Scientists prepare for the world’s smallest race: Nanocar Race II March 18th, 2022

Possible Futures

A 2D device for quantum cooling:EPFL engineers have created a device that can efficiently convert heat into electrical voltage at temperatures lower than that of outer space. The innovation could help overcome a significant obstacle to the advancement of quantum computing technol July 5th, 2024

New method cracked for high-capacity, secure quantum communication July 5th, 2024

Searching for dark matter with the coldest quantum detectors in the world July 5th, 2024

Atomic force microscopy in 3D July 5th, 2024

Molecular Machines

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

Nanotech scientists create world's smallest origami bird March 17th, 2021

Controlling the speed of enzyme motors brings biomedical applications of nanorobots closer: Recent advances in this field have made micro- and nanomotors promising devices for solving many biomedical problems October 13th, 2020

Giant nanomachine aids the immune system: Theoretical chemistry August 28th, 2020

Molecular Nanotechnology

Scientists push the boundaries of manipulating light at the submicroscopic level March 3rd, 2023

Scientist mimic nature to make nano particle metallic snowflakes: Scientists in New Zealand and Australia working at the level of atoms created something unexpected: tiny metallic snowflakes December 9th, 2022

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

Nanotech scientists create world's smallest origami bird March 17th, 2021

Nanomedicine

The mechanism of a novel circular RNA circZFR that promotes colorectal cancer progression July 5th, 2024

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

Discoveries

Efficient and stable hybrid perovskite-organic light-emitting diodes with external quantum efficiency exceeding 40 per cent July 5th, 2024

A New Blue: Mysterious origin of the ribbontail ray’s electric blue spots revealed July 5th, 2024

New organic molecule shatters phosphorescence efficiency records and paves way for rare metal-free applications July 5th, 2024

Single atoms show their true color July 5th, 2024

Announcements

New organic molecule shatters phosphorescence efficiency records and paves way for rare metal-free applications July 5th, 2024

Single atoms show their true color July 5th, 2024

New method cracked for high-capacity, secure quantum communication July 5th, 2024

Searching for dark matter with the coldest quantum detectors in the world July 5th, 2024

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

Single atoms show their true color July 5th, 2024

New method cracked for high-capacity, secure quantum communication July 5th, 2024

Searching for dark matter with the coldest quantum detectors in the world July 5th, 2024

Atomic force microscopy in 3D July 5th, 2024

Nanobiotechnology

The mechanism of a novel circular RNA circZFR that promotes colorectal cancer progression July 5th, 2024

A New Blue: Mysterious origin of the ribbontail ray’s electric blue spots revealed July 5th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

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