Artificial micro-robots, made of a hydrogel nanocomposite, containing magnetic nanoparticles, were demonstrated to swim and navigate through different fluids. The magnetic nanoparticles allows to guide the micro-robots with an applied magnetic field, and the micro-robots can also dynamically change their shape in response to changes in the surrounding fluid, enabling the micro-robots to squeeze through tight blood vessels, and eventually empowering future micro-robotic monitoring of human physiology.
Future ubiquitous micro-robots might transform healthcare, enabling real-time disease detection and treatment.
H.-W. Huang, F. E. Uslu, P. Katsamba, E. Lauga, M. S. Sakar, and B. J. Nelson, Adaptive locomotion of artificial microswimmers, Science Advances 18 Jan 2019: Vol. 5, no. 1, eaau1532. http://advances.