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Medicine Biotech Robotics Technology

Microbots Deliver Medical Payload In Living Creature For the First Time 41

Zothecula writes: Researchers working at the University of California, San Diego have claimed a world first in proving that artificial, microscopic machines can travel inside a living creature and deliver their medicinal load without any detrimental effects. Using micro-motor powered robots propelled by gas bubbles made from a reaction with the contents of the stomach in which they were deposited, these miniature machines have been successfully deployed in the body of a live mouse.
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Microbots Deliver Medical Payload In Living Creature For the First Time

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  • Here we go (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Russ1642 ( 1087959 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @12:56PM (#48866177)

    This will be a revolution in medicine.

  • by cruff ( 171569 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @01:03PM (#48866251) Homepage
    Oh, the humanity! All of those mice suffering hydrogen explosions when things get out of control!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's how the Borg got started once again Star Trek predicts the future

  • Really?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @01:23PM (#48866417)

    Now this is pretty amazing, but...

    they are no more 'robots' than early Chinese fireworks were space probes. No guidance, no programming, just very clever manufacturing and good chemistry. Micro-motors are a big deal, but these aren't robots by any stretch.

    • What do you suggest they be called?
      • Unguided delivery device.

      • Tube propellers []
      • by n0w4k ( 3643913 )
        The authors call them "micromotors". And that's perfectly justified; they have autonomous propulsion, but it's quite random. It's more or less like a car without a driver, just moves here and there randomly and gets stuck in a wall if it hits one. And that's how the delivery works in the paper; it's not directed at all.

        It will be insanely difficult to make active micro/nanobots which can be programmed or controlled in real time. It's just like making a living cell, inventing new biology. It will be way e
  • reference her, however and whenever it's possible. what a Fantastic Voyage.
  • How do the motors find their way to the stomach if they're already in the stomach?
  • Calling these things nanobots or microbots is misleading. They're little tubes propelled by hydrogen gas bubbles. No onboard or remote intellegence or control of any kind really. Micro-torpedoes maybe.
    • No onboard or remote intellegence or control of any kind really. Micro-torpedoes maybe.

      Torpedoes have depth sensors and gyroscopes. Many also have sonar and magnetic sensors.

  • Hype (Score:4, Informative)

    by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:15PM (#48866985)

    The motors made their way to the mice's stomachs, embedded in their stomach linings, and released their tiny payloads: nano-size flakes of gold.

    No, the motors were swallowed by the mouse where they interacted with the acid in the stomach and began to move. Some of them eventually encountered the stomach lining where they embedded themselves. There was no payload release.

    The research represented a major step toward putting microbots to work in human medicine, where they could one day ferry drugs efficiently into specific organs or even specific cells.

    These are motors with a payload not microbots.
    Here are a few issues;
    They only work in an acid environment.
    This method could not be uses in blood supply as it produces gas which could cause an embolism.
    They have no way of discerning where they are. To deliver a drug to a specific point that is necessary.
    This may be a step to delivering drugs to the stomach or intestines but not really applicable to the rest of the body.

  • by sbaker ( 47485 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @03:45PM (#48868065) Homepage

    So it looks like these things are basically zinc-lined sensors, no guidance, no controls, no electronics, no communications or intelligence of any kind.

    How is that a "bot"?

    The gizmag report (second link in the story here) has a very beautiful picture of something which looks like a proper robot...but the other two links show simple cylinders.

    I could imagine it being a motor for a bot...but it's nowhere *REMOTELY* near being an actual robot, not by any stretch of the imagination.

    Look...this is an impressive achievement, it's very clever and I'm sure it has some very neat applications - but let's not over-sell it?


  • by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @09:08PM (#48871307)

    ... outside world. From mouth to anus, you are like a squiggly wet cylinder of slimy secretions and supple absorptive tissues.

  • From TFA

    The chemicals they create when they dissolve—mostly a plastic, plus zinc, an essential mineral—are supposed to be safe for the body

    What plastic are we talking about? Polyethylene and polypropylene are safe. Polycarbonate and polystyrene are definitively not safe. The generic term "plastic" does not tell us much about safety.

  • This is quite an amazing breakthrough! I for one welcome our nano-machine enhanced cybernetic mice overlords.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll