Following up on our article on Friday about how microrobots may be the surgeons of tomorrow, there has been video footage released by École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) of the microrobots in action.
As mentioned before, 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. The 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.
For now, the microrobots are still in development. “There are still many factors we have to take into account,” said EPFL scientist Selman Sakar. “For instance, we have to make sure that the microrobots won’t cause any side-effects in patients.”
The technology the microrobots use could lead to diagnostic and therapeutic devices that can perform specific actions, reaching areas and doing tasks that are difficult with existing techniques.