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Health Tech: Tiny Robots to Deliver Drugs in the Body

We are all used to swallowing pills of all sorts to take medications and other health-related materials. But what we could deliver drugs to specific locations?

In the 1960s science fiction classic, “Fantastic Voyage”, a submarine and its crew were shrunk to a microscopic size in order to try to remove a blood clot from a patient’s brain. As is often the case, one generation’s science fiction is another’s science fact. In this case, researchers at Stanford have developed a tiny robot that can travel over solid surfaces and swim through liquids. Injected inside the body, it could propel itself to a specific location where it could then release a drug payload to that precise spot. It could also retrieve bio-materials from that place for further analysis. It is powered by magnetic fields, so it does not need a power source or recharging. Depending on the strength of the magnetic field, it can jump up to 10 times its own length. Fortunately, we do not need to find a shrinking ray to put a human crew onboard for it to complete its mission.

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Written by Alfred Poor

Alfred Poor is an "Into Tomorrow" Contributing Correspondent, health tech speaker, writer and the founding Editor of Health Tech Insider: a website and industry newsletter that covers wearable and mobile technology for health and medical applications. With more than 2,400 articles published on the site, he has a broad perspective of where the global industry stands today and where it’s headed... Into Tomorrow.

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