Robots Swim Through Eyes To Give Treatment

The latest in eye treatment is just around the corner. A new tiny robot capable of being steered through your eye can deliver drugs or maybe even do micro-surgery. Thanks to Michael Kummer and his team at the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS), this tech may be available to the public in a short time.

Some time back, researchers at North Carolin State University were able to make micro-bots do U-turns in a fluid on command, and another group developed one capable of clearing blood clots in the blood vessels in the eye. Now, Kumer has brought his similar technology even further. Kumer, a Mechanical Engineer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) is a specialist in robotics and thermodynamics in emerging technologies, and his research involves the precision control of microbots using magnetic fields.

Kumer's robots are injected into the eye via needle and are electro-magnetically controlled to eliminate the need for on-board fuel. the team hopes that the tiny robots will be able to help treat macular degeneration injecting a drug slowly over a period of months. So far the robots have only been tested on pig's eyes from cadavers but they plan to test it on living animals soon.

With any luck, not only will the little robots be able to help with macular degeneration, but also with other eye problems and surgeries. Maybe they're even be able to use the robots in other parts of the body like removing a blood clot deep in the heart.

Follow James Mulroy on Twitter to get the latest in microbe, dinosaur, and death ray news.

[New Scientist via Engadget / Photo: richardmasoner on Flickr; Used under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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