A small mucous balloon that can be controlled from the outside, which can travel through our body and enter the narrowest and most windy corners... this idea may seem a little disturbing, but this real innovation may be an advantage in the field of medicine.
The scientist Xinjiang Fang and his team are behind the development of this strange robot, and their research has been published in Science Advances.
The length of the device is about one centimeter. It's leaking because it's made up of magnetic nanoparticles of iron oxide suspended in oil. The beauty of this method is that magnetic fluid reacts very well to magnets used to control it at a distance. Moreover, scientists say it can even change shape and scale at will.
In a demonstration video, you can see a robot moving through a labyrinth that confronts it with a variety of difficulties. It is able to stretch when it has to enter narrow passageways, pull itself into it, and divide itself into a few drops to reduce its size, and gather again after that. Scientists believe that these different abilities allow it to be optimally oriented in the human body.
The inner part of our anatomy is full of underwater stones and complicated passageways to pass through rigid devices. The ability to deform and divide at will makes this robot very capable of moving smoothly within us. So it can reach sensitive areas in a non-invasive way. It can also purposely deliver drugs to even a few places at the same time.
As scientists say, this liquid robot
This new type of robot, partly because of its ability to separate, can adapt to different sizes and reduce its size to a micrometre scale. Although it may not be seen on the operating tables in the near future, a small robot may prove very useful in the future.