The human body is an amazing thing, in many cases if we have an illness or if we injure ourselves our bodies heal themselves. If we have a cold, our white blood cells counteract the virus to allow us to get better again, and if we get a paper cut our skin is able to heal itself over time. Sometimes though, our bodies need a little helping hand when getting us back to tip top condition. There are many examples of this including vaccinations to help the body become immune to diseases, and using medication such as antibiotics to recover from an infection. Scientists and doctors have been working towards a more technological approach to healing, and have been developing tiny robot-like equipment that could help heal us from the inside on a miniscule scale.
In the recent past, many other prototypes for this reason have been developed. Scientists had found a key idea which would, if successful, become extremely useful. At first, these tiny robots were created to do simple tasks such as to carry small objects that were attached to them. These were controlled using a control pad which was connected using wires. For the robots to be used within the body the design had to be adapted for the conditions required. The technology has been developed so that the robots, which are made out of small magnetic fibres, can be controlled via a magnetic field wirelessly rather than being physically connected to the control pad, and this has meant that the robot would be suitable for use within the body without exterior incisions being made. As well as this, the robots now have the ability to grab and carry objects to their destination using arms that have been manufactured with enough precision to pick up minute objects. This will allow the robots to work within the body, using the bloodstream as their main source of transportation. This is an exceptional development as these robots are under a millimetre in length. Developers are hoping that these robots will be able to be injected into the bloodstream in the near future.
This technology could be used for many different procedures, such as building structures that would help the blood to clot while other micro-robots would physically block the blood travelling to the open wound. This would be exceedingly useful for people who live with haemophilia, where their blood cells are unable to clot, or people who are given Warfarin to remove existing clots. Scientists working with this technology are currently studying how else these micro-robots could be used the most effectively within the body.
With designs underway for different types of these robots, either to build structures or to provide assistance in other ways, this has the potential to increase the effectiveness of other treatments or to be used as a stand-alone solution within the medical field. Unlike with traditional treatments such as medicines, the development of equipment such as this would greatly diminish or even remove the chance of side effects being felt, as there are fewer chemicals passing through the body to aid with the treatment. As well as this, it may help increase our understanding further as to how our own bodies heal and the best way to treat conditions. With technological developments advancing with such a rapid rate, the opportunities are endless as to what these tiny robotic doctors may be able to achieve in the future. With many alternatives to traditional treatment, there are even more options for how each patient should be treated depending on their own needs, and this specialised help is warmly welcomed by the medical field.
What else could these micro-robots be used to treat within the body?