Miniature robot crawls through veins
14 July 2009
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology has unveiled a miniature
crawling robot (ViRob) that measures just 1 mm in diameter and 14 mm in
length. The ViRob has the potential to perform precise medical
procedures inside the human body in order to diagnose and potentially
treat artery blockage and cancer.
The Technion researchers, led by Professor Moshe Shoham, Head of the
Kahn Medical Robotics Laboratory, have developed a basic prototype of
the robot, which can move as fast as 9 mm per second.
Using tiny arms which allow it to withstand blood pressure, it can
crawl through the inner walls of blood vessels, the digestive tract and
the respiratory system in order to progress through veins and arteries.
The robot is powered by an external magnetic field allowing it to be
controlled for an unlimited amount of time during medical procedures.
The team at the Technion is examining the possibility of using the
ViRob as a treatment for lung cancer. ViRob could assist in targeted
drug delivery to lung tumours as well as take samples from different
areas within the body.
In addition, a number of these micro robots could simultaneously
treat a variety of metastases. Researchers also plan to install
additional equipment on the robot, including electrodes, miniature drug
capsule and other miniature equipment.
Prof. Moshe Shoham said, “This robot is a breakthrough in the
biomedical industry, as it allows doctors to access inaccessible areas
in the body with minimal invasion. The technology enables a targeted
treatment without scattering materials to unnecessary areas in the
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