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MIT's filamentous robot can glide through blood vessels in your brain



The team described the "magnetically steerable, hydrogel-coated robot thread" in an article published in Science Robotics . The core of the thread is a nickel-titanium alloy that is both flexible and springy. It is coated with a rubbery paste or ink embedded with magnetic particles. This is then covered with a hydrogel, which makes the wire smooth and frictionless. The final product can be controlled by magnets.

Today, surgeons usually eliminate blood clots in the brain by inserting a thin wire through a person's main artery. The surgeons use a fluoroscope, which images the blood vessel with X-rays to manually rotate the wire and guide it into the damaged cerebral vasculature. A catheter is then passed along the wire to deliver medication or other clot therapies. However, the procedure is physically strenuous for the surgeons who are exposed to repeated exposure to the fluoroscope. And the wires carry the risk of damaging the vessel lining.

In contrast, this robotic filament is controlled by magnets, and surgeons could guide it from outside the operating room. They would be protected from repeated radiation exposure and could potentially be remotely operated using a joystick. Yes, remote-controlled robot brain surgery with a joystick.

Thanks to the hydrogel, there is less risk of friction on the vascular liners, and the device can help surgeons get further into the brain. "One of the challenges in surgery has been to navigate complicated brain blood vessels that are very small in diameter and can not reach commercial catheters," said Kyujin Cho, a professor of mechanical engineering at Seoul National University. "This research has shown that this challenge can be met to enable surgical intervention in the brain without open surgery." of small rings, much like threading a needle. They also created a life-size replica of the major blood vessels of the brain and guided the robot through these winding, narrow paths. They hope that the robot wire may release anticoagulant drugs or dissolve with a laser blockage.


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