Watch this tiny robot crawl through a wet stomach

Gadgets

While this video shows a tiny robot from the City University of Hong Kong doing what amounts to a mitzvah, we can all imagine a future in which this little fellow could stab you in the kishkes.

This wild little robot uses electromagnetic force to swim or flop back and forth to pull itself forward through harsh environments. Researchers can remotely control it from outside of the body.

“Most animals have a leg-length to leg-gap ratio of 2:1 to 1:1. So we decided to create our robot using 1:1 proportion,” said Dr. Shen Yajing of CityU’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The legs are .65 mm long and pointed, reducing friction. The robot is made of “silicon material called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) embedded with magnetic particles which enables it to be remotely controlled by applying electromagnetic force.” It can bend almost 90 degrees to climb over obstacles.

The researchers have sent the little fellow through multiple rough environments including this wet model of a stomach. It can also carry medicines and drop them off as needed.

“The rugged surface and changing texture of different tissues inside the human body make transportation challenging. Our multi-legged robot shows an impressive performance in various terrains and hence open wide applications for drug delivery inside the body,” said Professor Wang Zuankai.

The team hopes to create a biodegradable robot in the future which would allow the little fellow to climb down your esophagus and into your guts and then, when it has dropped its payload, dissolve into nothingness or come out your tuchus.

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