Robotic Micro-Scallops Can Swim Through Your Eyeballs
By Evan Ackerman
Posted 4 Nov 2014 | 16:00 GMT
Image: Alejandro Posada/MPI-IS
An engineered scallop that is only a fraction of a millimeter in size and that is capable of swimming in biomedically relevant fluids has been developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart.
Designing robots on the micro or nano scale (like, small enough to fit inside your body) is all about simplicity. There just isn’t room for complex motors or actuation systems. There’s barely room for any electronics whatsoever, not to mention batteries, which is why robots that can swim inside your bloodstream or zip around your eyeballs are often driven by magnetic fields. However, magnetic fields drag around anything and everything that happens to be magnetic, so in general, they’re best for controlling just one single microrobot robot at a time. Ideally, you’d want robots that can swim all by themselves, and a robotic micro-scallop, announced today in Nature Communications, could be the answer."_see also http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/141104/ncomms6119/full/ncomms6119.html