Ingestible Origami Robot to Heal Your Stomach Wounds

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Origami Robot

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Sheffield and Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed an ingestible origami robot that can patch wounds, deliver medicine and remove foreign objects from a person’s stomach. The robot sealed in a capsule unfolds in the stomach once its container dissolves.

The robot is made largely of meat in the form of a type of dried pig intestine used in sausage casings. During an experiment, the robot was to pick up a button battery lodged inside a synthetic stomach and oesophagus model. “It is really exciting to see our small origami robots doing something with potential important applications to health care,” said Daniela Rus from MIT. The demonstration showed that the robot can grab an embedded battery and lift it, allowing both the robot and battery to be excreted normally. In the USA alone, 3,500 button batteries are ingested every year. While some pass harmlessly, others leak and react with the stomach’s acid.

The robot at present is being controlled with the help of a magnetic field although researchers plan to add sensors and redesign the robot so that it is able to control itself without the need of an external magnetic field. “For applications inside the body, we need a small, controllable, untethered robot system. It is really difficult to control and place a robot inside the body if the robot is attached to a tether,” Rus added.

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