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Robot travels through the bloodstream to deliver drugs

November 19, 2007 //

Researchers at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology have claimed to have created the world's smallest autonomous robot. The robot, with a diameter of one millimeter, is designed to travel through the bloodstream and deliver drugs, according to a report in Technion Focus magazine.


NETANYA, Israel — Researchers at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology have claimed to have created the world's smallest autonomous robot. The robot, with a diameter of one millimeter, is designed to travel through the bloodstream and deliver drugs, according to a report in Technion Focus magazine.

The report says the miniature "submarine" can travel along blood vessels using tiny arms working on the inner walls. The robot is powered by an external magnetic field allowing it to be controlled for an unlimited amount of time during medical procedures. A possible application could be for brachytherapy (short distance radiation therapy) which is commonly used to treat prostate cancer and cancers of the head and neck, the report said. The robot was developed by Oded Salomon, a research engineer in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering's Kahn Medical Robotics Laboratory, together with Professor Moshe Shoham and Nir Schwalb, formerly of the Technion lab and now a lecturer at the Ariel University Center. "This accomplishment of miniaturization is without precedent, as is the ability to control the robot's activity for unlimited period of time, for any medical procedure," said Oded Salomon. "We hope this discovery can be used to improve the quality of care for diseases and many other conditions.

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