Posted on Aug 29, 2019, 3 p.m.
A snake-like super flexible robot which is less than one millimetre thick has been built to crawl through the human brain, and is now being tested in a model of human veins.
The developing team at MIT hope that their minuscule hyper flexible magnetised robot will help to make it easier to diagnose and treat blood clots, aneurysms, as well as to perform other small scale operation in the brain.
Science Robotics published a study in which the robot was shown to be able to navigate a model of a human brain that it badly affected with aneurysms. While there have been similar robots in the past they often used hydraulics, this robot uses flexible ferromagnetic material domains to move around.
This robot doesn’t need to expand or contract to move forward, as it is covered by a layer of hydrogel slime to help it travel with as little friction as possible. Now that the robot has successfully navigated a model brain, animal trials are expected soon, with the next stage being to test it on humans.
Brain aneurysms, blood clots, and weakenings of the blood vessel wall require highly skilled operations. Patients often need to be moved to hospitals with more advanced facilities. With this robot and an internet connection patients may be able to stay at the nearest ER and still be treated. The team believes that one day many surgeries will be able to be conducted using robots such as this.
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