IT’S IN THE BLOOD
Now, there’s a nano-robot that can clean up infections in blood.
Directed by ultrasound, these tiny robots made of gold
nanowires with a biological coating dart around blood, attach
to bacteria, and neutralize toxins produced by the bacteria.
It’s like injecting millions of miniature decoys into the blood
to distract an infection from attacking the real human cells.
The invention was developed in the labs of Joseph Wang
and Liangfang Zhang at the University of California San Diego
(UCSD). The researchers hope the robotic detoxification
system could provide an alternative to the multiple broad-spectrum antibiotics currently used to treat life-threatening
infections. This one could work in minutes.
So far, they’ve demonstrated the proof-of-concept
system in the lab
using test tubes
of blood. Next, they hope to scale up and refine the process
enough to test it in mice, says Berta Esteban-Fernández de
Ávila, a postdoc in Wang’s lab who led the study.
The bacteria busters add to the growing list of tiny
robots that can go deep into the human body. Many of these
were built with drug delivery in mind. UCSD’s latest bot
could have applications in drug delivery, too.
For now, however, the team is focused on fighting gram-positive bacterial infections. In that type of infection, there
are two elements to battle: the bacteria themselves; and the
toxins produced by the bacteria. Toxins poke holes in red
blood cells and bacteria attach to platelets in the blood. Both
actions eventually destroy their targets, resulting in serious
infections in humans.
VIRTUAL BOT BUDDY
Tokyo company, Telexistence, Inc., has developed a mass production prototype MODEL H robot
that uses remote control technologies utilizing
Telexistence® technology, VR, telecommunication,
cloud, and haptics. With commercialization in mind,
the telepresence system has improved ease of use
and durability, shortened boot time and startup
time, sophisticated design, proprietary cloud
infrastructure, and will be mobile and Internet-ready.
Included in the system are the TX cockpit,
MODEL H robot, and TX cloud infrastructure for
Internet based data delivery.
Telexistence thinks that having a telepresence
robot that’s humanoid on the other end will
make it more natural to interact with.
Miniature robots cloaked in platelets and red blood
cells can clear bacterial infections in the blood.
Image courtesy of Esteban-Fernández de Ávila/
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