Propulsion System For 'Fantastic Voyage' Robot

In the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage, a full-size underwater vehicle was shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the blood vessels of a person. Now, a team headed by Dr. Moshe Shoham of Haifa's Technion has created a novel propulsion system for a miniature robot to travel through the spinal canal, powering through cerebrospinal fluid. Dr. Shoham is also the primary developer of the SpineAssist robot to aid surgeons in performing delicate spinal procedures (see SpineAssist Robot Has Got Your Back).

(Technion miniature robot propulsion)

The requirements for a robot that moves through body cavities are strict; it must be small enough to move through the body and it must have a propulsion system that is flexible enough to work. Devices like the PillCam, a pill-shaped camera that is swallowed to picture the complete digestive tract, are moved along by the body's own peristalsis, and do not need their own propulsion system.

"The first location we're targeting is the spinal canal - which means the device will travel through the cerebral spinal fluid (CSS) which is clear and similar to water. It doesn't flow too fast, but it needs propulsion," said Dr. Shoham.

"Now we have the propulsion system, but we still don't have the actual payload - whether it's a camera from images, or a subsystem which would take a biopsy - that's still in the development stage."

The robot would in essence be a free-swimming endoscope; a robot with two actuators - swimming tails - that will have a camera in the head to broadcast images to the physician outside.

“This is a unique swimming mechanism that is adapted to tiny sizes and, with very low power consumption", the Technion researchers explain. “In the future, we hope that the robot will also be able to perform biopsies and release medications for local treatment.”

Shoham estimates that it will take several more years to complete the design of the robot's payload and to further miniaturize the design. He remarks:

"I believe that in the future there will be micro-robots that will be permanently implanted in our bodies and will be able to navigate to problematic points. This is a step up for micro-penetration into the human body."

Interested in medical robots?

Read an interview and press release; found this one on medGadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/10/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | | 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 ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

FORTIS Exoskeleton Not Quite Ripley's Alien-Fighting Exoskeleton
'Earth's scientists solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing...' - Edmond Hamilton, 1932.

Kirobo Mini - Your Dashboard Droid
No protocol droid needed for translation!

3D Printed Soft Robotic Tentacle May Grab You
'Monique's tissues had at least three other basic attractor modes as well...' - Rudy Rucker, 1997.

Sprint Wants Sales Robots
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing, pleading...' - Philip K Dick, 1954.



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

ANNABELL AI Can Learn English From Scratch
'...Could understand not only classic programming but also Loglan and English..."

Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs
'Then a pressure on the lips...'

Surgically Implantable Artificial Kidney Starts Testing
'George Walt... proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'

Self-Filling Water Bottle Is Beetle-Based
'That moisture trickles down...'

Senate Passes Space Mining Legislation
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite...'

Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
'Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications...'

Police Use Predictive Maps ala 'Minority Report' Routinely
'...the data-receptors, and the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Tesla Autopilot Road Trip 2995 Miles, 57 Hours
'The beautiful old car cruised ... under the guidance of its automatic controls...'

The 'Marching Mountains' Of Pluto
Calling Captain Future!

Graphene Thermopile May Grant Predator Heat Vision To Humans
'What the hell are you?'

BitDrones Flying Microbots Model Programmable Matter
'... as though a child should build from nursery blocks a fantastic shape which abruptly is filled with throbbing life.'

Starship Turbolift Elevators Coming From ThyssenKrupp AG
Your sideways elevator is getting closer to your floor.

LineFORM MIT's Shape-Changing Interface
'For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

LM3D Swim First 3D-Printed Production Car
'Almost as good as the original it was printed from…'

Protopiper Lets You Sketch Full-Size Objects In Real Space
'Plastic comes out of the end of the drawing arm and hardens...'

AI Trainers: Assisting Artificial Intelligences
'[Ava] wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.