• Daniyar Kylyzhov

Cornell University proposed to control a medical robot the size of an infusoria with a laser

Researchers from Cornell University have presented a microrobot, the size of which is no larger than that of a ciliate shoe. Such robots could move through the vessels inside the human body during operations. They can be controlled using a laser.



The microrobot was developed by physics professor Itai Cohen in collaboration with physics professor Paul McUen and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Mark Miskin.


The robots are only 5 microns thick, 40 microns wide and 40 to 70 microns long, depending on the design. The robot's body is a silicon photovoltaic circuit, and the legs are electrochemical actuators.

The legs are layered with atom-thick platinum strips, with a titanium "cap" at one end. When platinum is exposed to an electrical charge, negative ions from the surrounding chemical solution neutralize it at the surface. As a result, the platinum leg bends. In order for the microrobot to move, the team uses laser pulses. Each set of pulses is targeted at a separate circuit, which in turn drives multiple legs.



As Cohen noted, although these robots are primitive and not very fast, the cost of their production paves the way for mass adoption. “Because they are built using the same manufacturing method as semiconductors, they can be mass-produced. We foresee the day when swarms of these robots will float inside your body, removing plaque, repairing blood vessels, even exploring gray matter, ”he says.

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