In the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage, a scientist has a miniaturized submarine and crew injected into his bloodstream to effect a cure for a blood clot on the brain. Now the reality is catching up with movie fantasies as scientists have gone further and invented tiny robots with brains that can walk on instructions or operate under their own free will.
These robots are no bigger than the head of ants and can be used in all manner of internal operations like microsurgery or the cleaning of arteries.
Research by a team of scientists at Cornell University has linked a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) clock circuit, which can hold thousands of transistors capable of generating frequencies that set the walking paces of the robot.
Because they only rely on low-energy orders from tiny photovoltaic cells in the onboard circuits, these robots move along powered by their platinum-based legs.
They have developed a number of these ‘thinking robots’ that are guided by laser pulses from outside the body instructing them what to do and where to go, and even telling the professionals what is wrong ahead of them.
The different micro technologies used in mobile telephony could be used in the future for all manner of medical uses in surgery for artificial limbs or many other cures.
This is the future of many types of digital enhancements in medicine.
A scientific paper detailing the research, titled ‘Microscopic robots with onboard digital controls’, was published in Science Robotics Journal recently.