Surgeries are time-consuming and there’s always a concern of being a failure. So, scientists are working hard to reduce the need for such invasive surgeries. Researchers from the Harbin Institute of Technology in China are testing a swimming robot that will do that job. Inspired by the front crawl, the fastest human method of swimming, they taught their nano-swimmer to mimic the similar motion.
The cleverly designed robot is capable of swimming the front crawl at an impressive 10 micrometers per second, pretty swift for its size. This 5 micrometers long robot constructed with three main parts, connected together by two silver hinges like a sausage. Two hefty magnetic arms made of nickel flank its gold body, and give the bot a momentum strong enough to pass through thick and viscous liquid like blood. In this way, the swimming robot can dispense medicine from inside your veins.
Blood is thicker than water
However, testing those robots performance in water wasn’t enough as human blood is way lot thicker than water. So, the researchers also tested the nano-swimmers speed by dunking them in serum. As expected, it halved their speed, with the bots only able to swim 5.5 micrometers per second through the fluid. But, it was still quicker than some other rival nano-swimmers.
“It’s exciting due to its speed and its really small size, just about the same size as a blood vessel,” says Eric Diller, a microbot researcher at the University of Toronto. “It’s small enough basically to go anywhere within the body.”
The test was very important to find out how effectively those nano-swimmers could be used if coated in medicine and then injected directly into the human bloodstream. However, before practically injecting them into the bloodstream, it has to be made sure that these swimming robots are manufactured using biodegradable materials. If successful, these bots could be used in the difficult areas in the body, such as the urinary tract or the eyeballs.