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Health Spotlight | Nanobots to the rescue

Health Spotlight: Nanobots to the rescue

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The fantastic voyage! Microrobots deployed inside a body were once science fiction and only imagined in the movies. But now, it’s becoming the basis of real science inside a lab.

Medical microrobots are, essentially, microscale devices. So, we’re talking devices five to 10 times thinner than the human hair,” said Dr. Wyatt Shields IV, University of Colorado Boulder.

A team of engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder has designed a new class of tiny, self-propelled robots that can zip through a body at incredible speeds.

“This is called a piezoelectric transducer,” Shields said.

The bots are made out of polymer materials that are biocompatible using a technology similar to 3-D printing. They look like small rockets with three tiny fins.

“And the result is that these robots move really fast. So, on the order of several hundred body lengths per second, I think 120 or 140 body lengths per second. So, that would be equivalent to a six-foot-tall person running 400 miles per hour,” Shields said.

Although there’s still more testing to do, this work could one day turn what was once science fiction into science that changes the world.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.