Self-Assembling Robotic Gun Will Shoot Through Tissue Inside Your Body
It’s way past time that everything that ever goes wrong inside our bodies should be fixed by tiny little robots. Way past time. There are still a lot of things that we have to figure out, though, like how to make robots that are small enough and remain controllable and practically useful.
One technique is to leverage the magnetic fields inside a clinical MRI machine to control swarms of small, “dumb” robots, using clever algorithms to move multiple robots in different directions even when you’re restricted to giving them all the same input signals. Plus, you can see on the MRI images where your robots are going and what they’re doing in realtime. Driving them around the body like this is pretty cool, and the next step is getting them to do stuff, such as clearing blockages or delivering drugs.
Research presented last month at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) by Aaron Becker, Ouajdi Felfoul, and Pierre E. Dupont from University of Houston and Boston Children’s Hospital shows how a small swarm of robots can turn themselves into a Gauss gun, firing projectiles that can penetrate tissue.