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Mini robot treats ailments from the inside out

Jeannie Choe

Researchers from Ritsumeikan University and the Shiga University of Medical Science have developed a miniature robot prototype that is controlled remotely once placed inside the body via an incision (whew! not a suppository) at the affected area. Unlike existing swallowable robots that can only snap pictures and gather info, this minibot is maneuvered by controlling external magnetic fields located close to the patient, and can perform medical treatments that may, in some cases, negate the need for surgery. As of now, the researchers have experimented with 5 different variations of the device to test functions like capturing images, taking tissue samples (see creepy forceps above), and administering medicines. The robot is positioned and guided using an MRI of the patient taken pre-surgery, and an attached mini-cable relays stats and images back to a computer during the procedure. The robot is composed of plastic and measures at 0.8-inches in length and 0.4-inches in diameter, which, by all means, doesn't seem that tiny when you picture it crawling around inside of you. Supposedly, this little guy has tested well with animals, so we humans may be next in line.

[Via Pink Tentacle]

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