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Tiny Robots Powered by "Force Fields" Could Soon Probe Your Body for Cancer Cells

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

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Jan 25, 2016 2:50:32 PM

Researchers closing in on controllable robots small enough to enter the bloodstream.

Here's the report, from Designtrend.com:


"Researchers from Purdue University are hoping to produce tiny robots that could seek out cancer cells or be put to work assembling tiny electronic components in manufacturing lines, writes Nature World News.

In a new study, the scientists detailed how the robots would be controlled technology consisting of a series of "mini force fields," according to UPI.

Each of the robots would collaborate as part of a group, but scientists would have control of the robots on an individual basis. The researchers built small remote controls that were constructed from planar magnetic coils with the ability to project magnetic fields.

"The robots are too small to put batteries on them, so they can't have onboard power," David Cappelleri at Purdue University, said in a press release. "You need to use an external way to power them. We use magnetic fields to generate forces on the robots. It's like using mini force fields."

In the past, researchers have attempted to place planar coils on the perimeter boundary of where the robots have been deployed - but this has only served to generate a general force field. So the researchers tested a new technique with the ability to produce targeted magnetic fields.

"The approach we came up with works at the microscale, and it will be the first one that can give truly independent motion of multiple microrobots in the same workspace because we are able to produce localized fields as opposed to a global field," Cappelleri said in the press release. "What we can do now, instead of having these coils all around on the outside, is to print planar coils directly onto the substrate."

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