Nanobot with ability to crawl through blood vessels

15 Jul 2009 | News

Research lead | Development opportunity

Scientists at Technion, Israel Institute of Technology have unveiled a miniature crawling robot (ViRob), measuring just 1 millimeter in diameter and 14 mm in length, which has the potential to perform precise medical procedures inside the human body, including diagnosing and potentially treating artery blockage and cancer.

The Technion researchers, led by Moshe Shoham, Head of the Kahn Medical Robotics Laboratory, have developed a basic prototype of the robot, which can move as fast as 9 mm per second. Using tiny arms that allow it to withstand blood pressure, it can crawl through the inner walls of blood vessels, the digestive tract and the respiratory system. The robot is powered by an external magnetic field, allowing it to be controlled for an unlimited amount of time during medical procedures.

The team at the Technion is examining the possibility of using the ViRob to assist in targeted drug delivery to lung tumours and to take samples from different areas within the body. The researchers also plan to install additional equipment on the robot, including electrodes, a miniature drug capsule and other miniature equipment.

Shoham said, “This robot is a breakthrough in the biomedical industry, as it allows doctors to access inaccessible areas in the body with minimal invasion. The technology enables a targeted treatment without scattering materials to unnecessary areas in the body.”

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