Nano Robotics in Medicine

Topics: Robotics, Nanorobotics, Nanotechnology Pages: 5 (1640 words) Published: July 30, 2012

Archana Patil and Sonali Singh
Aurora’s Engineering College, Bhongir.
E-mail ID’s: and


Imagine going to the doctor to get treatment for a persistent fever. Instead of giving you a pill or a shot, the doctor refers you to a special medical team which implants a tiny robot into your bloodstream. The robot detects the cause of your fever, travels to the appropriate system and provides a dose of medication directly to the infected area. Surprisingly, we're not that far off from seeing devices like this actually used in medical procedures. They're called nanorobots and engineering teams around the world are working to design robots that will eventually be used to treat everything from hemophilia to cancer. Assuming the Nano robot isn't meant to stay in the patient forever, it also has to be able to make its way out of the host. In this presentation, we'll learn about the potential applications of Nano robots, the various ways Nano robots will navigate and move through our bodies, the tools they will use to heal patients, the progress teams around the world have made so far and what theorists see in the future. [pic]

Powering the Nano robot:

Just like the navigation systems, nanotechnologists are considering both external and internal power sources. Some designs rely on the Nano robot using the patient's own body as a way of generating power. Nano robots could get power directly from the bloodstream. A Nano robot with mounted electrodes could form a battery using the electrolytes found in blood. Another option is to create chemical reactions with blood to burn it for energy. The Nano robot would hold a small supply of chemicals that would become a fuel source when combined with blood. A Nano robot could use the patient's body heat to create power, but there would need to be a gradient of temperatures to manage it. Power generation would be a result of the Seebeck effect. The Seebeck effect occurs when two conductors made of different metals are joined at two points that are kept at two different temperatures. The metal conductors become a thermocouple, meaning that they generate voltage when the junctures are at different temperatures. Since it's difficult to rely on temperature gradients within the body, it's unlikely we'll see many Nano robots use body heat for power. While it might be possible to create batteries small enough to fit inside a Nano robot, they aren't generally seen as a viable power source. The problem is that batteries supply a relatively small amount of power related to their size and weight, so a very small battery would only provide a fraction of the power a Nano robot would need. A more likely candidate is a capacitor, which has a slightly better power-to-weight ratio. [pic]

Another possibility for Nano robot power is to use a nuclear power source. The thought of a tiny robot powered by nuclear energy gives some people the willies, but keep in mind the amount of material is small and, according to some experts, easy to shield. Still, public opinions regarding nuclear power make this possibility unlikely at best. External power sources include systems where the Nano robot is either tethered to the outside world or is controlled without a physical tether. Tethered systems would need a wire between the Nano robot and the power source. The wire would need to be strong, but it would also need to move effortlessly through the human body without causing damage. A physical tether could supply power either by electricity or optically. Optical systems use light through fiber optics, which would then need to be converted into electricity on board the robot. [pic]


Current micro robots are only a few millimeters long and about a millimeter in diameter. Compared to the Nano scale, that's enormous -- a nanometer is only one-billionth of a meter, while a millimeter is one-thousandth of a meter. Future...
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