Hundreds of thousands of tiny robots capable of moving could one day help us better understand how the human body works, from within.
Some have long dreamed of sending tiny robots inside our bodies to deliver targeted drugs or remove tissue. Now robotics specialists are very close to making this dream a reality.
In an article published on August 26 in Nature, nanorobotics researchers describe a way to make a million tiny mobile robots invisible to the naked eye, each measuring less than 0.1 millimeter. “These robots are rudimentary and remind Frogger, the famous arcade game from the 1980s, describes the site Cnet. But they benefit from an innovative new class of electrochemical actuators, which are the legs of the microrobots, designed by the team. ”
To control the movements and operate the legs of these machines, the researchers use a laser beam captured by light-sensitive circuits installed on the backs of the microrobots. These small machines were designed to venture into environments with extreme acidity and temperature. With one goal: to inspect the human body from the inside.
The problem, at the moment, is that the energy that allows robots to move is not on board. They depend on outside, remotely controlled signals – which is why we speak of “puppets”. However, the authors of the publication believe that “These puppets are important because they are a first step towards future devices capable of functioning autonomously”, specifies the site specializing in new technologies and electronics. This is more of a technological demonstration than a functional piece of equipment ready to be marketed.
The team has also shown that microrobots can fit into a narrow hypodermic needle in order to be injected into the body. But for the moment this invisible army is not yet intelligent enough to go on its own to treat a disease or even respond to a stimulus. Cnet reports:
Researchers are now trying to program the robots to perform certain tasks, using more complex calculations allowing more elaborate autonomy. ”
The video below shows how one of these microrobots moves.
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