Mu-Gripper Microsurgical 'Robots'

Tiny Mu-Gripper 'robots' the size of a speck of dust are the latest way to perform a biopsy in the constrained regions of the body.


(Mu-gripper by magnetic catheter)

In two recent peer-reviewed journal articles, the team reported successful animal testing of the tiny tools, which require no batteries, wires or tethers as they seize internal tissue samples. The devices are called “mu-grippers,” incorporating the Greek letter that represents the term for “micro.” Instead of relying on electric or pneumatic power, these star-shaped tools are autonomously activated by the body’s heat, which causes their tiny “fingers” to close on clusters of cells. Because the tools also contain a magnetic material, they can be retrieved through an existing body opening via a magnetic catheter.

In the April print edition of Gastroenterology, the researchers described their use of the mu-grippers to collect cells from the colon and esophagus of a pig, which was selected because its intestinal tract is similar to that of humans.

“This is the first time that anyone has used a sub-millimeter-sized device—the size of a dust particle—to conduct a biopsy in a live animal,” said David Gracias, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering whose lab team developed the microgrippers.

Technovelgy readers will not be surprised if I reference the Proteus from the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage. However, a more intriguing reference comes to mind; the cookie-cutters from Neal Stephenson's 1995 novel The Diamond Age.

Microscopic invaders were more of the threat nowadays. Just to name one example, there was the Red Death, a.k.a. the Seven Minute Special, a tiny aerodynamic capsule that burst open on impact and released a thousand or so corpuscle-sized bodies, known colloquially as cookie-cutters, into the victim's bloodstream. It took about seven minutes ... for the cookie cutters to be randomly distributed throughout the victim's organs and limbs.

A cookie-cutter was shaped like an aspirin tablet ... two tiny centrifuges. Detonation dissolved the bonds holding the centrifuges together so that each of a thousand or so ballisticules suddenly flew outward...The victim was just a big leaky sack of undifferentiated gore at this point and, of course, never survived.

Via Johns Hopkins.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/21/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Mini Robot Uses 2 mm Surgical Tools
'... surgical tool - blades, tweezers, probes - so fine you could just see them with the naked eye.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1939.

Feeling A Poke On Your Robotic Hand
'Take care, sir.'

Deep Brain Stimulation Soon Without Surgery
'I sat down at my mood organ and I experimented.' - Philip K. Dick, 1968.

GyroGlove Idea For Parkinson's Was Suggested In 1926
'The gyroscope was revolving at the rate of three thousand revolutions a minute, and the slight humming was hardly noticeable...' - Ellis Parker Butler, 1926

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Honda To Offer Car With Emotions
'All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition.'

Just Eat And Starship Bring You Food Via Robot
'...its underside was studded with grilled sensors.'

Life In Detroit's 'Agrihood' - The First In The U.S.
'countless tiny brown circles in the green fields ...occasional ruins of ancient cities...'

Artificial 'Hairs' To Enhance Senses Of Robots
'Migul had extended from each of the fingertips an inch-long filament of wire...'

The Point Of View Of An Autonomous Car
'It is safe to say that the new model almost revolutionized America in more ways than one...'

You Can't Lose The Travelmate Autonomous Suitcase - It Follows You
'...follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

ibotn Toddler-Care Mini-Robot
'She's not like a machine. She's like a person. A living person.'

Nuclear Batteries Based On Diamonds Last Millennia
'they just package it and ship it around to wherever people want it...'

Eighth Sense Emotion-Responsive Cloak
'This sensitivity to mood explains the real popularity of bio-fabrics...'

British Airways To Offer An Ingestible Sensor To Passengers
The modern way to get feedback from passengers.

Unique DNA To Foil Parts Counterfeiters
'... the only molecule, a unique protein amino acid, which could not be duplicated.'

MIT Researchers Predict The Future From Still Photos
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'

Mini Robot Uses 2 mm Surgical Tools
'... surgical tool - blades, tweezers, probes - so fine you could just see them with the naked eye.'

Childhood Dreams Of Space Realized! Space Junk Problem Solved!
'Give the noble daydreams a rest, you preachy rookie. Astronauts are wage slaves like everyone else!'

Writhing Robotic Tentacle Uses Laser To Chop Nuke Hardware
'... long, flexible, glittering tentacles... swinging and rattling about its strange body.'

LBNP Device Not Quite 'Artificial Gravity'
'Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses..'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.