MIT robotics engineers have built a robot worm that It can be magnetically directed to skillfully navigate the extremely narrow and sinuous arterial pathways of the human brain.
Someday, this technology is expected to be able to quickly eliminate blockages and clots that contribute to strokes and aneurysms.
Thanks to their experience in biocompatible water-based hydrogels and the use of magnets to manipulate simple machines, MIT engineers have devised a robotic worm with a flexible nickel-titanium alloy core so that when it bends, it returns to its original form because the material has memory.
Next, the core was coated with a gummy paste that was embedded with magnetic particles, which was finally wrapped in an outer layer of hydrogels that allows the robotic worm slip through arteries and blood vessels without any friction that could cause damage.
The robot was tested in a small one in a life-size replica of the blood vessels of a brain, as well as in a tiny obstacle course, as you can see in the following video.
Although it was tested using a manually operated magnet to direct it, eventually machines could be built to control the position of the magnet with improved accuracy, which in turn would improve and further accelerate the robot's journey through a patient's body. Has anyone come to mind Amazing Journey?