Building a robotic eel that swims through your body

Physicist Seth Fraden is developing a new generation of machines modeled on living creatures. His latest invention might one day treat disease by swimming its way through our blood.

As a kid, physicist Seth Fraden loved the movie “Fantastic Voyage,” about a microscopic submarine traveling through a human bloodstream. Almost 10 years ago, Fraden began a quest to create a robotic eel he could send on a similar journey, though it wouldn’t be for entertainment. The eel would be designed to deliver a drug to cells or genes. And, to capture the flexibility of the real sea creature, it would take the form of a gel that could glide through water.

Fraden recently announced he’d achieved the first couple of steps toward realizing his vision. In the journal Lab on a Chip, he reported that he and his team had created a model of a network of neurons using chemicals and microscopic containers. It’s this network that is primarily responsible for the eel’s trademark zigzag swimming motion.

Fraden next plans to embed his neural network in a gel. If everything goes as planned, the gel will actually move the same way an eel does while swimming.
The robotic eel is part of a larger effort by Fraden to build machines made from chemicals and other synthetic materials that behave like living organisms. “Animating inanimate matter” is how he describes it.

He’s not bringing inorganic matter to life. He’s building devices that act a lot like aspects and features of living creatures — clothing that mends itself using the same process our cells use to close a wound, for example, or nanobots that swim like fish through water pipes, carrying materials to repair pipe damage. Fraden’s artificial neural network is just the beginning.

Read more at brandeis.edu

Image Credit:  BraneisNow

News This Week

First-ever prostate cancer treatment uses gold nanoparticles to destroy tumorous cells

A small clinical trial using gold nanoparticles that act as tumor-seeking missiles on a mission to remove prostate cancer has begun at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). It [...]

A new path through the looking-glass

Exploring the mystery of the molecular handedness in nature, scientists have proposed a new experimental scheme to create custom-made mirror molecules for analysis. The technique can make ordinary molecules spin so fast that they [...]

First-ever prostate cancer treatment uses gold nanoparticles to destroy tumorous cells

A small clinical trial using gold nanoparticles that act as tumor-seeking missiles on a mission to remove prostate cancer has begun at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). It is [...]

Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions now available to rent on Kindle

To accommodate students who wish to read the book at an affordable cost, Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions by Frank Boehm (CEO NanoApps Medical Inc.) is available to rent on Kindle. This book benefits [...]

New nano-immunotherapy promotes long-term acceptance of transplanted organs

Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine have developed a new nanotechnology-based immunotherapy that promotes long-term transplant acceptance in an animal model. The development, which is described in the journal Immunity, could transform [...]

Physicists name and codify new field in nanotechnology: ‘Electron Quantum Metamaterials’

“It’s a bit like driving past a vineyard and looking out the window at the vineyard rows. Every now and then, you see no rows because you’re looking directly along a row,” said Nathaniel [...]

Tying the knot: New DNA nanostructures

Knots are indispensable tools for such human activities as sailing, fishing and rock climbing, (not to mention, tying shoes). But tying a knot in a lacelike strand of DNA, measuring just billionths of a [...]

Nanoparticle Therapy for Prostate Cancer Treatments

The use of nanoparticles and other nanoscale materials has been gathering a lot of significant interest in recent years and has even adapted into its own interdisciplinary field of science known as nanomedicine. Whilst [...]

2018-07-14T14:41:55+00:00

Leave A Comment