April 3, 2012

1 Min Read
Tiny Cyberplasm Robot Could Detect Illness

Putting medical diagnostic devices right into your body has been a growing trend and now a team of American and UK researchers is taking their own crack at it—and they’re taking their cue directly from nature.


In a project that will take place over the next few years, a team of researchers jointly backed by the American National Science Foundation and the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council have set out to create what they have dubbed Cyberplasm, a sort of living robot that will have electronic visual and olfactory sensors modeled after animal cells as well as artificial muscles that will be powered by glucose. Scientists are looking to model Cyberplasm after the sea lamprey (aka the vampire fish), a parasitic fish native to the Atlantic ocean that nonetheless has a simple nervous system that is both easy to mimic and provides excellent knowledge of the creature’s surrounding. In a press release, Dr. Daniel Frankel of Newcastle University, who is leading the UK-based team says, "Nothing matches a living creature's natural ability to see and smell its environment and therefore to collect data on what's going on around it.”


By mimicking the sea lamprey, scientists are seeking to eventually develop a nano-robot capable of navigating its way through the human body and detecting a variety of diseases.


So what’s a sea lamprey look like, you ask? Check out the video below to see one in action. Now imagine one swimming inside of you…you’re welcome.


-Chris Wiltz



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