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Wormbots poised to invade your gut

Evan Blass

It's likely that many of our readers are vocal proponents of the benefits derived from robotics research, but how many of you would be willing to put your money a robot where your mouth is -- literally -- and let it crawl down your throat to explore your guts? While we would certainly never volunteer to be guinea pigs for such a nascent technology, a team of European researchers are surely going to have to find someone to test out their latest medical device: a small bot whose locomotion was inspired by so-called "paddle worms" (and which sounds very similar to a Korean invention we once saw). It turns out that mimicking their fleshy counterparts allows the wormbots to effortlessly navigate the slippery, elastic walls of human intestines, and equipping them with cameras would offer doctors a degree of investigative freedom that's impossible with traditional "smart pills" or endoscopic procedures. Sounds good, but we're gonna wait until at least several thousand people have successfully ingested these bots -- and more importantly, successfully purged them afterwards-- before we sign up to star in our own personal remake of Fantastic Voyage.

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