Tiny nano robots less than 5 millionths of a metre long can swim through human veins to deliver medicine to a targeted area.
The nanobots have two arms and is said to swim in a “freestyle” stroke, or front crawl, when guided with magnets. They have three main parts, and are said to be approximately the size of a single blood cell.
The super-small machine was built by Joseph Wang and his colleagues at the University of California at San Diego. Co-workers at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and the Israel Institute of Technology were also involved.
In comments to NanoTechWeb.org, one of the research team members, Jinxing Li, of UCSD, says: “The nanobot is strong and can propel itself at speeds of up 59.6 µm/s in water, which is around 12 body lengths per second, at a magnetic frequency of 25 Hz.
“It can rapidly reach a desired location and so might be used in many biomedical applications. These include localized diagnostics and treatment – by propagating through the bloodstream to detect cancer cells, for example, or travelling through arteries to remove blood clots.”