Posted by: robotnews | March 24, 2007

Doctor "bugs"

Mai Kaojie, U0307803@nus.edu.sg



A new micro-bot, jointly created by Ritsumeikan University and the Shiga University of Medical Science in Japan, is believed to be the next weapon in the war against cancer. It is designed in the shape of a bug with just an inch long. With its small body dimension, it can be inserted easily through a small incision. The metal device is encased in plastic less than half an inch wide and protects the components while inside the body.


This bug had a few amazing features. Firstly, it is able to capture images with a tiny camera which is mounted on its head. Secondly, it can deliver drugs through a special injecting device. Thirdly, it had tiny forceps for taking sample tissues. Future developments may enhance these forceps’ capabilities to sever cancerous cell. Compare to radiotherapy which may damage the healthy cells while killing the cancerous cell, this method is safer because of its precision in removing cancerous cell. Last of all, the bug is connected to the computer by a cable. This cable relays data back and forth to the computer. The data could be in the form of images which is captured by the tiny camera or instructions to control the movements of the bug. In case the bug gets “lost” in its course, the cable acts as a “safety line”. The future for these bugs could likely be in the battlefield. Small and versatile, they could be a great assistant to field medics. Such a day could be far, but often imagination from past science fiction is right here in our reality world.

References: Daily mail, science and technology, “Robot that roams the body to seek and destroy cancer”

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Responses

  1. Stefan Wester, NT061492M

    Robotics in medicine, especially internal medicine is something I’ve seen a lot of research on. The aim seem to be about the same, creating a small enough robot that can move about in the body performing various tasks like directly attacking cancer cells, taking images or locally distributing medicine.

    I see a far future were we have a small army of robots crawling around in our bodies cleaning them. Imagine being able to eat whatever you want because the fat will be taken out by the robots, or that you don’t have to worry about catching a cold. The possibility for robots are endless in almost every field.

  2. Tan Shunpeng U036051B

    The thought of having a robot running in my stomach does sound quite discomforting. However, let us not forget that it helps us to fight illness such as cancer. It get rid of the cancer cells in a less painful way unlike chemotherapy where the loss of hair is commonly seen. Healthy cells are also destroyed in chemotherapy. This invention is indeed a breakthrough in medical science.

  3. This robot is quite a breakthrough in medical sciences. I feel this robot would be very useful for diabetic patients who require a regular dosage of insulin. It would be quite interesting to see the developments in this technology as the possibility of making the robot autonomous or having wireless data transmission would be spectacular breakthroughs.

    Cheers
    Vignesh Viswanathan (u045971E)

  4. Xu Xiao U036505H

    Interesting bug…

    for once, i can relate a bug to something good, unlike the insect bugs, Y2K bugs, or bugs in your programs…

    however, in my opinion, one inch is still pretty long and big enough to be inserted into human body. it would be better if they can make it further smaller. Also, is the bug safe for human body? like all of its metallic parts, even though it is enclosed in plastics? will it be eroded by the digestive fluids in human body?

    Another question is: how to take out the bug when the work is done?

    if the answers to all the questions above are good and promising, then the inventor did a great job in designing the bug…

  5. Lim Jun Ming Kelvin U036328m u0303229@nus.edu.sg

    The idea of inserting a mini-bug like this is not really new and has been around for a few years. It started with a bug that was attached with a camera to view the interiors of a body instead of inserting a endoscopic, an instrument for examining visually the interior of a bodily canal or a hollow organ such as the colon, bladder, or stomach into the person or doing X-ray. Thus, I believe that the difficulties that xu xiao mentioned has already been overcomed.

  6. Choo Liang Kwang U046028R

    With electronic parts getting smaller, we can expect this little robotic bug to be smaller in size next time. Maybe, a bug that is small enough to be able to travel through the blood capillaries and yet carry within itself various tools for checking and testing will be a great invention.

    With that, maybe we will need a bug that will safely ‘kills’ itself and ‘decompose’ after its job is done. That might make it possible for wireless control.

    And regarding autonomous bugs checking out the digestive system of the body, I guess the easy way out it to let it come out the natural way…

  7. It is quite interesting. But I am quite skeptical on these bugs.

    I personally feel that having some robots swimming in my bloodstream is discomforting. The Worst fears comes when these robots become malfunctional. In other words, they may loiter around my body, causing undesirable side effects.

    They probably can be decomposed and comes out as a normal vowel, but who can 100 percent sure on the credibilty of decomposition process.

    I still feel our human body is too complex for them.

    Koh Ling Ying
    U046245W


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