Director of Physical Intelligence Department
Wireless Medical Millirobots inside Our Body
Wireless miniature medical robots have the unique capability of navigating, operating and staying inside hard-to-reach, tight and risky sites inside our body. This talk reports on various recent milliscale wireless medical robots that could navigate in confined spaces inside our body and inside the brain tissue to achieve various medical functions, such as targeted active drug delivery, clot opening, liquid biopsy, biofluid pumping, cauterization, and hyperthermia. Due to miniaturization limitations on on-board actuation, powering, sensing, computing and communication, new methods need to be introduced in creating and controlling such robots. Moreover, they need to be tracked under medical imaging modalities, such as ultrasound, fluoroscopy, photoacoustic imaging and MRI, for their precise and safe operation and control. 3D microprinting and assembly-based fabrication methods and multifunctional soft composites are proposed to create novel medical millirobots. Soft-bodied medical millirobot designs enable active shape programming-based adaptive, multimodal and multifunctional navigation and functions, and safe operation. Here, external magnetic fields/gradients are used to actuate and steer such miniature robot bodies with complex magnetic programming. These robots are aimed to save lives of more people by curing diseases not possible or hard to cure at the moment and decrease the side effects and invasiveness of disease treatments significantly in the future.