Robots to the Rescue: Racing Through Our Blood to Cure Disease
“David Zarrouk carefully places the tiny robot into a cleaned-up pig intestine on his table, and flips on the switch. About the size of a thumb, the miniature robot comes to life and starts worming through the intestine, all the way through the other end. The researcher at Ben-Gurion University in Israel draws his inspiration from the 1960s movie Fantastic Voyage. There, a shrunken submarine swims through a scientist’s bloodstream to repair his brain. Zarrouk hopes to turn what he saw on the screen into reality. “You can call it a gut bot,” he says. He isn’t alone.
Since the turn of the century, scientists have eyed implantable medical devices or particles, sometimes as tiny as ingestible pills, as a long-awaited solution that could allow them to monitor body functions from the outside while avoiding painful, and at times costly, surgeries. But now, researchers are leapfrogging those implants, instead developing minuscule robots that are emerging as the next frontier in medical science…”
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