Researchers have been trying hard to create small robots that can roam inside our bodies to deliver drugs. This time a team has created a snake robot that will slither in human brain to treat strokes.
A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a magnet-controlled snake-like, thread-shaped robot that is designed to break blood clots in the brain and treat strokes and aneurysms.
“Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States,” said co-author Xuanhe Zhao. “If acute stroke can be treated within the first 90 minutes or so, patients’ survival rates could increase significantly. If we could design a device to reverse blood vessel blockage within this ‘golden hour’, we could potentially avoid permanent brain damage. That’s our hope.”
Video Courtesy: MIT
The current procedures are expensive, and required specifically trained surgeons. This robot snake is small, which makes it easy to slither through the areas of brain having small diameter. The device could prove to be a pathway to a more competent form of treatment, reported CNET.
The robot thread is made up of flexible nickel-titanium alloy, covered in a paste filled with small magnetic beads and is then coated in a smooth polymer to decrease friction in the artery. The device was also successfully tested on scaled-up brain models, with plans to continue testing on smaller versions.
The team hopes to equip the robots with drugs or lasers in order to deliver treatments to fragile and the difficult-to-reach places within the body. For the future, the hopes to pair the robotic thread with existing technologies that will enable doctors to remotely guide the robot through a patient’s brain vessels in order to rapidly treat blockages.