Technology Other News 21 Jul 2016 New pill-sized robot ...

New pill-sized robots to help stomach issues

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jul 21, 2016, 4:49 pm IST
Updated Jul 21, 2016, 4:56 pm IST
The origami robot has been designed to remove batteries without going through surgeries.
The robot can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule. (Photo: MIT)
 The robot can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule. (Photo: MIT)

Suffering from Stomach issues? Swallowing a robot could be a solution now.

A team of researchers at MIT and the Tokyo institute of Technology have developed a tiny indigestible robot, named origami robot that can be swallowed to complete specific task within the body.

 

The robot can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound.

Daniel Rus, Director at MIT CSAIL explained, ‘The robot can remove foreign objects, it can patch wounds, or can deliver medicine at designated locations.’

‘The challenge with designing an indigestible robot is finding biocompatible materials that are easy to be controlled and amenable to the types of operations that are needed of the robot,’ she added.

 

Initially, researchers demonstrated the robot by folding the structure into an ice capsule, which then travels down the esophagus into the stomach, where the ice melts and the robot unfolds to its functional form. Thus, the robot can now be controlled by an external magnetic field to do work, such as removing swallowed batteries.

According to the reports, around 3,500 button batteries are swallowed every year in the US alone.

Though, the tiny batteries can be digested, but when they come into contact with the stomach tissue, it can burn the tissue and can be embedded.

 

The origami robot has been designed to remove such batteries without going through surgeries.

Rus said, ‘Once inside the stomach, the robot can be directed to attach to the battery. It will further lift the battery from the coating and will eliminate it through the digestive system.’

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