It's made of a soft, rubbery substance that's embedded with magnetic particles. The scientists use a magnetic field that allows them to control whichever way the robot moves. The team said they were inspired by creatures like jellyfish, beetle larva, caterpillars and other soft-bodied animals when creating the millirobot. The robot is about a seventh of an inch long, making it smaller than a penny.
While it doesn't have any legs, its soft surface allows it to move like a nematode, jumping 'over obstacles that are too high or too time-consuming to roll or walk over,' by contracting its shape on a rigid surface, the study noted.
The robot's pliable structure allows it to move between wet and dry environments.Even with all that it can do, Metin Siddi, who led the study, told the New York Times that he and the scientists still consider it a 'minimalist robot.' That hasn't stopped the scientists from setting forth some big goals for the little robot. The team hopes that the millirobot can be used in medicine for targeted drug delivery and to improve minimally invasive surgery techniques.
Siddi said the robot is small enough to be inserted into our digestive and urinary systems, or eventually, our vascular system to deliver drugs to hard to reach places in the human body. The robot's flexible, soft coating enables it to crawl across organs, muscles and swim through bloodstreams with ease. For many, the idea of having a robot deliver drugs inside your abdomen might make people queasy. But the study notes that the robot can be located using medical imaging devices. The robot can also grip an object, transport it to a location and 'eject a cargo that is strapped onto the robot,' the scientists noted.
Siddi told the Times that he's already thinking about making the robot smaller, in addition to including a small pocket on the robot that they can open and close using magnetic fields.
According to dailymail.