Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It

In the 1966 science fiction movie Fantastic Voyage, researchers miniaturize a delivery mechanism and inject it into a human body.


(1966 Fantastic Voyage)

In a modern-day sequel, engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed tiny ultrasound-powered robots that can swim through blood, removing harmful bacteria along with the toxins they produce.


(UC San Diego)

These proof-of-concept nanorobots could one day offer a safe and efficient way to detoxify and decontaminate biological fluids.

Researchers built the nanorobots by coating gold nanowires with a hybrid of platelet and red blood cell membranes. This hybrid cell membrane coating allows the nanorobots to perform the tasks of two different cells at once—platelets, which bind pathogens like MRSA bacteria (an antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus), and red blood cells, which absorb and neutralize the toxins produced by these bacteria. The gold body of the nanorobots responds to ultrasound, which gives them the ability to swim around rapidly without chemical fuel. This mobility helps the nanorobots efficiently mix with their targets (bacteria and toxins) in blood and speed up detoxification.

(Via UCSD: Cell-like nanorobots clear bacteria and toxins from blood.)

You might also enjoy this article Proteus Microrobot Video: A Fantastic Voyage.

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