Tuesday, 20 Jan, 2009 Health & Fitness

Mircobot Motors to Help Surgeons Treat Stroke Victims


Australian scientists recently presented their latest invention, a real scientific breakthrough - one of the smallest motors in the world, having a width of just 1/4th of a millimeter. Researchers from Micro/Nanophysics Research Laboratory at Australia's Monash University hope their 21 century invention will have enough power to drive a tiny robot around the human body. They believe the robot will be able to reach delicate structures of the brains of patients highly affected by strokes.

Thus the 2009 will most likely see a safer method of performing difficult surgical operations to treat stroke victims. By injecting the device into the bloodstream, scientists hope the invention will be able to tackle hardened arteries or inform about the blockages in a patient's bloodstream.

Information published today, January 20, 2009 in IOP Publishing's Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering provides details on how scientists are exploiting piezoelectricity (energy force often used by researchers to trigger-start a gas stove) to create really small microbot motors.

This new invention also features a camera that can provide useful information to the surgeon who wants to remove body tissue to perform a biopsy or deliver the necessary drugs to the areas where these are mostly needed.

Specialists, who worked on the creation of the new motor, dubbed their latest invention Proteus, a name inspired from the Oscar-winning movie filmed back in 1966. Till now the device showed good results in swimming through human blood in laboratory conditions. However, researchers believe it could also reach the narrow arteries of the human brain.

The device features a sort of tail that has the function of a propeller. The tail is only 1 millimeter long and it swishes thousands of times per second.

Professor James Friend said of his invention that it is not that fragile and at the same time is rather simple to control, being about 70 percent smaller than the tiniest design created so far.

"Unfortunately, pushing a catheter into the body can rupture a blood vessel and can cause the patient to die. Using the Proteus would be a much safer way of carrying out the procedure. It is very exciting to think what could be done", he said. The next step for researchers is to get permission to test their invention on animals.

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