Can you imagine that in the future it might be possible to take medicine to the exact right place in the body, transported by a 4-millimeter magnetically controlled soft robot?
Metin Sitti, Director of the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and his team of scientists form the developed a miniscule, flexible robot that is able to master various forms of movement. One day, this small-scale robot may enable targeted drug delivery or minimally invasive surgery, the researchers hope.
The robot can perform various movements due to the fact that the scientists included magnetic micro-particles in its soft rubber body. This way the researchers can operate and control it using an external magnetic field. When varying the direction and strength, they deform the millirobot in various ways.
It can walk or roll across surfaces, jump across obstacles, crawl through narrow tubes and even swim on or in liquids. To make it complete, it can grasp objects, transport them and finally deposit them at defined locations.