Researchers have designed 3D-printed robots as “microfish” that swim through the patients’ bloodstream, delivering drugs, pinpointing and removing toxins. The 3D-printed microfish contain functional nanoparticles that enable them to be self-propelled, chemically powered and magnetically steered. The microfish are also capable of removing and sensing toxins.
Nano-engineers at the University of California, San Diego used an innovative 3D printing technology they developed, to manufacture multipurpose fish-shaped 3D-printed robots — called microfish — that swim around efficiently in liquids, are chemically powered by hydrogen peroxide and magnetically controlled.
These proof-of-concept synthetic microfish will inspire a new generation of “smart” micro-robots that have diverse capabilities such as detoxification, sensing and directed drug delivery.
Research led by Professors Shaochen Chen and Joseph Wang of the NanoEngineering Department at the UC San Diego
The technique used to fabricate the microfish provides numerous improvements over other methods traditionally employed to create micro-robots with various locomotion mechanisms, such as micro-jet engines, micro-drillers and micro-rockets.
Most of these 3D-printed robots are incapable of performing more sophisticated tasks because they feature simple designs — such as spherical or cylindrical structures — and are made of homogeneous inorganic materials. In this new study, researchers demonstrated a simple way to create more complex micro-robots.Read more