No assembly required: Researchers automate microrobotic designs

ScienceDaily | 4/24/2019 | Staff
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In the lab of Professor Eric Diller, researchers create magnetized microrobots -- the size of the head of a pin -- that can travel through fluid-filled vessels and organs within the human body. Diller and his team control the motion of these microrobots wirelessly using magnetic fields.

Each microrobot is built by precisely arranging microscopic sections of magnetic needles atop a flat, flexible material. Once deployed, the researchers apply magnetic fields to induce microrobots to travel with worm-like motion through fluid channels, or close its tiny mechanical 'jaws' to take a tissue sample.

Robots - Process - Precision - Graduate - Student

"These robots are quite difficult and labour-intensive to fabricate because the process requires precision," says graduate student, Tianqi Xu. "Also because of the need for manual assembly, it's more difficult to make these robots smaller, which is a major goal of our research."

That is why Xu and his labmates developed an automated approach that significantly cuts down on design and development time, and expands the types of microrobots they can manufacture. Their findings were published today in Science Robotics.

Smaller - Microrobots - Applications - Drug - Delivery

Smaller and more complex microrobots are needed for future medical applications, such as targeted drug delivery, assisted fertilization, or biopsies.

"If we were taking samples in the urinary tract or within fluid cavities of the brain -- we envision that an optimized technique would be instrumental in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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