It may sound strange, but scientists at the University of California at San Diego plan to inject medical “microfish” robots into patients’ bloodstreams to hoover up toxins and administer medications internally. According to a report from Tech Crunch, researchers have devised a method to 3D-print the tiny robots using a wide range of materials that interact with their surroundings.
The robots are fitted with nanoparticles that can be used to directly insert chemicals into cells and tissues, which could change the way doctors administer medicine to patients forever. The tails of the 3D printed microbots are made of nanoparticles including platinum that react with hydrogen peroxide in the blood, thrusting it forward. The front of the robot is also fitted with magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles that steer the robots through the blood.
The invention could soon become a part of new-and-improved drug delivery systems. The tiny robots can remove toxins from water with polydiacetylene (PDA) nanoparticles, which bind to toxins similar to the ones found in bee’s venom. The swimming fish robots located and neutralized toxins faster and more efficiently than other traditional chemical treatments.
The amazing tiny robots can cover a significant amount of area with their chemical-powered swimming mechanisms, and could provide doctors with a new means of non-invasive drug delivery. It will be some time before the robots are ready for widespread use, but many researchers are excited about the possibilities presented by the tiny fishbots.