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Microbot To Perform Microsurgeries

Microbot To Perform Microsurgeries

A Stanford medical engineer is hoping to pioneer how implantable medical devices are powered…

While implantable medical devices will one day administer drugs from the abdomen, and microsurgeries in out bodies, powering them for long durations of time has always problematic since cutting open patients to replace dead batteries is certainly not idea.

Ada Poon, a medical engineering professor at Stanford, has developed a new wireless micro device that solves that problem.

The device is powered by induction, which gets energy from an external radio transmitter that sends a signal to a magnetically coupled antenna. Any change in the transmitter current induces a voltage.

Previous research suggested that device antennas would have to be rather large to work inside the body, however this was based on using bone and muscle and electrical conductors.

But Poon’s has proven it works much better in our bodies than once thought. She found that while human tissue is a poor conductor, radio waves travel through them 100 times more effectively than originally thought. This means the device antenna could be 100 smaller, and still just as powerful. As a result, the correct antenna demonstrated on Poon’s device is just two millimeters square.

She already developed two prototypes, both of which create their own propulsion by driving an electrical current through bodily fluid. Once in the blood stream, these microbots can perform an array of tasks.

Of course it may be some time before the antennas will be ready for clinical trails. But the concept vid below shows how the device will look and how it’s proposed to work.

The device was on show at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, February 19-23 San Francisco


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  1. Rebecca Boyle: Video: Wireless Devices Swim Through Your Bloodstream and Fix You Up, ‘Fantastic Voyage’ Style. Popular Science, 02/23/2012.

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