The future of robotics has, in medicine, one of its greatest areas for growth and applications
One of the problems that medications still have is their efficacy. Not in terms of their composition and design. We’re referring to medication’s efficacy in terms of the location where they should act. Until now swallowing them or having them injected have been the most efficient ways to get results. This, however, is about to change.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are testing a new development that, if implemented, could have major applications. Known as Robot Origami because of its folding capability, this device will have the ability to heal wounds, provide medication directly in the affected area, or remove foreign bodies. According to its inventors, it will be essential for treatments having to do with children swallowing things harmful to their health and which can only be invasively fixed through surgery until now. At this time it is only being tested to “operate” in the stomach because the way to reach this location is through swallowing. But, who knows what it will be useful for in the next several years?
The patient will only have to swallow a small capsule. Once it reaches the stomach the capsule melts like ice, giving “birth” to the small robot. This robot then starts to work by using small magnetic fields that allow it to slide along the inner walls of the stomach. Once it finishes its tasks, the robot dissolves and disappears for good.
This is currently in the research stage, but the first results in silicon stomachs are providing great data. And although the experimental phase on humans and animals is still far off in the future, it is already quite promising.
In order to find the best material with which to manufacture the robot researchers resorted to rice and sugar papers, hydrogel, and any biodegradable material that had already been swallow tested. The key was in pigs. The sheaths used in the manufacture of sausages are ideal for this robot because they adapt to the folding and deployment of its body the best.