Health science researchers in Hong Kong have developed a ground breaking method to control activity of nano-robots which emulate natural swarm behavior. This breakthrough could help doctors manage blood clots during critical surgeries and treatments. A team of scientists from Hong Kong University led by Prof Li Zhang developed this strategy by designing and implementing oscillating magnetic fields for creating reconfigurable swarms of ribbon style nano robots. These miniscule robotic machines measuring one billionth of a meter can carry out tasks like moving molecules in predetermined path. When programmers apply magnetic fields to the “micro-swarm” of miniscule robots they can carry out several structural changes within cells.
According to the findings of this research which was published in scientific journal Nature during August, this technique can control movement of a swarm of nano-robots at high speed which till date has not been attempted by anyone. This transformation can be carried out within the physical bodies of humans and animals. The researchers hope that this technology can be adopted by surgeons to resolve blood clots and target drug delivery to diseased cells for treatment of complex cases.
Though nano-robots can be used in varied medical procedures, they are yet to be applied in treatment of humans as there are strict regulations about tests on humans. Dr. Zhang has stated that his team is working in collaboration with doctors from Prince of Wales hospital in Hong Kong and in 5-6 years nano-robots could be used in clinical trials of humans. The team is presently working on using this technology to treat gastrointestinal diseases by using robots to clean the gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Zhang confirmed their research was largely influenced by swarm behavior in nature which helps them do things that individuals cannot and that the team is presently testing the technology on animals.