Artery cleaning micro-robot

By | October 22, 2007

The Telegraph is reporting on a new medical micro-robot from Korea that is small enough to enter and navigate the arteries of a human being, carry medication, and use it to unclog arteries preventing heart attacks. The robot is tiny measuring less than a millimeter in length and boasts 6 legs. One of the most interesting aspects of this micro-robot is the power and locomotion systems.

By attaching grafted heart muscle to the legs, the scientists found the legs would bend as the muscle cells contracted. The cells get their energy from sugar in the patient’s blood.

That means the robot does not need an external power supply, which are often heavy and cumbersome, if not impractical.

Because the robot’s three front legs are shorter than the back legs, they bend inwards as the heart muscles contract, creating a difference in friction that pushes the robot forward.

This is damn cool and I want to know more about it but the article gives no information about the people behind this project; it only says that the work originates at the Chonnam National University. I could not find any information about the project on the school’s website (at least the English version.) If anyone knows more about this project, let us know in the comments.