micro scallop Tiny Robots Mimic Scallops to Swim Through Bodily Fluids (VIDEO)


November 10, 2014
Microrobots that can independently swim within the body may one day help diagnose conditions and to treat diseases by traveling to areas that conventional technology simply can’t reach. There’s already considerable research toward this goal, including how to encapsulate drugs, trigger different actions by the microrobots, and identifying materials that are safe and practical at very small scales.

A collaboration between scientists in Europe and Israel has developed a novel propulsion system modeled on scallops that can move tiny objects through many of the body’s fluids. The tiny scallop is powered by an external magnetic field that makes the device open and close. Because bodily fluids are typically non-Newtonian, meaning their viscosity changes depending on how fast an object is moving through them, flapping the scallop’s opposing shells at different speeds on the closing than the opening stroke allows it to propel confidently in one direction.

Here’s an excellent video from IEEE about the new technology:

Open access article in Nature CommunicationsSwimming by reciprocal motion at low Reynolds number…

More from IEEE SpectrumRobotic Micro-Scallops Can Swim Through Your Eyeballs…