Blood clots can be particularly dangerous when they occur, and those in the brain can be particularly dangerous when they give rise to outcomes like aneurysms and strokes. Mechanical engineers at MIT have developed a device to snake their way through the brain's blood vessels, and have found it to be very successful.
"Stroke is In the United States, "says Xuanhe Zhao, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT." If acute stroke can be treated within the first 90 minutes or so, patients' survival rates could increase significantly. If we could do it, we could potentially avoid permanent brain damage. That's our hope. "
Current approaches to clearing clots in the brain involving endovascular surgery, where a thin wire passes through the leg and up into the brain, guided by a fluoroscope. The wires are generally metallic and polymer, which can cause friction or cause them to get stuck in tight places, according to the MIT team.
Borrowing from the research realms of soft robotics and biocompatible hydrogels, the MIT team has now developed a rather alternative alternative. They actually describe the device as a robotic thread, in the sense that it can be remotely using magnets.
The wire is made of nickel-titanium alloy at its core, which affords it a flexible and springy shape so it can wind around any corners it might encounter.
The team tested the thread through a series of experiments, including one involving a life -sized silicone replica of the major blood vessels in the brain complete with clots and aneurysms, and with channels filled with a thick liquid to simulate blood.
Additionally, the robots hope to expand the functionality of their robotic thread with certain modifications, such as fixing a device for drug delivery.
Overalls, the MIT team says the matter navigates the complex and intricate web of blood vessels in the brain as current devices.
"Existing platforms could apply to the fluoroscopy procedure at Yoonho Kim, lead author on the study, says: "The same time to the patient, and the doctor could be in the other room, or even in a different city, controlling the magnetic field with a joystick."
Science Robotics, The robotic thread in action.