Self-Propelled 'Microrobots' For The Blood Stream

Self-propelled 'microrobots' moving through your bloodstream bringing healing drugs have taken a little step forward with research from Penn State University.


(Penn State self-propelled micromotor)

The micromotors are composed of spheres measuring less than a micrometer in width. The spheres are divided into halves, with one side made of gold and the other of silica. To propel the devices, the scientists attached a molecule known as a Grubbs catalyst to the silica side to cause polymerization. When dropped into a solvent containing norbornene, the motors could be prompted to move forward, depositing a polymer trail in their wake.

This research is intended to demonstrate that the basic principle works; Professor Ayusman Sen cautions science fiction fans that "practical applications will take at least a decade."

Indeed, sf fans have been eagerly awaiting tiny self-propelled vessels plying the body's waterways (bloodways? fluid-ways?) since the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage.


(Proteus from Fantastic Voyage)

Via MedGadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/24/2011)

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