Propulsion System For 'Fantastic Voyage' Robot

In the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage, a full-size underwater vehicle was shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the blood vessels of a person. Now, a team headed by Dr. Moshe Shoham of Haifa's Technion has created a novel propulsion system for a miniature robot to travel through the spinal canal, powering through cerebrospinal fluid. Dr. Shoham is also the primary developer of the SpineAssist robot to aid surgeons in performing delicate spinal procedures (see SpineAssist Robot Has Got Your Back).


(Technion miniature robot propulsion)

The requirements for a robot that moves through body cavities are strict; it must be small enough to move through the body and it must have a propulsion system that is flexible enough to work. Devices like the PillCam, a pill-shaped camera that is swallowed to picture the complete digestive tract, are moved along by the body's own peristalsis, and do not need their own propulsion system.

"The first location we're targeting is the spinal canal - which means the device will travel through the cerebral spinal fluid (CSS) which is clear and similar to water. It doesn't flow too fast, but it needs propulsion," said Dr. Shoham.

"Now we have the propulsion system, but we still don't have the actual payload - whether it's a camera from images, or a subsystem which would take a biopsy - that's still in the development stage."

The robot would in essence be a free-swimming endoscope; a robot with two actuators - swimming tails - that will have a camera in the head to broadcast images to the physician outside.

“This is a unique swimming mechanism that is adapted to tiny sizes and, with very low power consumption", the Technion researchers explain. “In the future, we hope that the robot will also be able to perform biopsies and release medications for local treatment.”

Shoham estimates that it will take several more years to complete the design of the robot's payload and to further miniaturize the design. He remarks:

"I believe that in the future there will be micro-robots that will be permanently implanted in our bodies and will be able to navigate to problematic points. This is a step up for micro-penetration into the human body."

Interested in medical robots?

Read an interview and press release; found this one on medGadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/10/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...' - Manly Wade Wellman, 1938.

Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'- Michael Swanwick, 2002.

Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1936.

Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
'Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him...' - Robert Heinlein, 1942.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Nobe 3-Wheel Electric Vehicle Parking Like I, Robot
Spidercar, Spidercar, does whatever a spidercar does.

Michelin Self-Sealing Tires On Ford's Explorer
'...a seal of compressed plastifoam to save the air.'

Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!

Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition
'... designed to foil facial recognition systems.'

Mojipic Smart Voice Vehicle Emojis
KITT, what's your response?

Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...'

BrainNet Triple Telepathic Gaming Threat
'In the gloomy half-darkness the three idiots sat babbling.'

AVAS Noisemakers Required For EVs By EU
'...a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "[internal combustion]" engine...'

Pun Generation Via Neural Nets
'You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags...'

Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Lightyear One Solar-Powered Electric Car (Design By Heinlein)
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

'Agression Detectors' Don't Work When Spying On Students
'The professional agitators had also learned how to modulate their voices below the danger level...'

Mining Of Golden Asteroid Foretold In 1898 Science Fiction
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.'

Miners! NASA Wants To License RASSOR Excavator
'The borers had been dismantled and packed away.'

Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...'

CNSILK Robotic Spider Builder
'We could certainly spin a web right through the Solar System, if we can think of a good use for one.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.