Tiny robots swim through the eye to deliver medicine


It’s tough to deliver medication quickly and precisely to different parts of the eye. Traditionally medicine for conditions like glaucoma or diabetic macular odema is injected into the eye or dropped onto the surface and left to diffuse slowly throughout. This delivery method isn’t always accurate and means the entire eye receives the drug. The process can be slow irritating and painful for the patient. Researchers wanted to build tiny delivery vehicles they could drive to deliver cargo quickly to specific parts of the eye particularly through the dense jelly called the vitreous humour. So they use nano scale 3d printing to create small spiral-shaped delivery bots. The bots were nearly 200 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Their tiny size and a nonstick coating made it easier for them to pass the tight matrix of the vitreous humour. The spiral bots also contained magnetic material which meant the researchers could drive them forward backward left or right with a magnetic field. The scientists injected a solution containing around 10,000 of the spiral bots into eyes collected from pigs and put the eyes in a magnetic field. They used imaging techniques and dissection to see if the bots have been able to pass through the eyeball’s jelly all the way to the back where the light the sensing retina lives. The bots were able to deliver their cargo to the right place in much less time than simple diffusion would allow. Next the researchers are planning to test the spiral bots in a living animal’s eye. It will be years before any humans have tiny spiral robots delivering drugs to the back of their eyes. But the work is a step forward in building controllable vehicles to aim medicine at precise targets in sensitive areas of the body.

26 Comments

  1. chris said:

    🤖 very fascinating!

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  2. in dog we trust on Instagram said:

    This awesome! 🤖

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  3. Killa Watt said:

    Wait til these robots are used to track everyone everywhere. From blood pressure levels to anxiety to what you consume and where you go. Scary stuff.

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  4. Ivo Krauksts said:

    Whoooly cheese balls

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  5. isac said:

    Robot comes from the Greek word meaning sLave

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  6. Xeno Phon said:

    History will label this era as the age of scientific audacity. How dare you call yourselves scientists when your motivations have nothing to do with science and everything to do with getting a paycheck and stroking your egos in front of lesser scientists. Your entire profession, your entire industry needs to be gone over with a fine toothed comb and regulated until you are moral again.

    /watch?v=WFnspLpRA3Y&t=0s&list=WL&index=37

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  7. roidroid said:

    Its kinda like magnetic jizz in your eye. What a time to be alive.

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  8. Angel said:

    These little things shouldn't be called robots

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  9. Scott FW said:

    Hmm. Now, since I’m related to some mechanical engineers, what are all the potential or possible failure modes?

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  10. Dan Freedom said:

    awesome, little sperms swim in the eye.

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  11. Sasha Da Masta said:

    So
    Do the robots desintegrare once the medicine is delivered? Wouldn’t that be toxic considering there is fluorine in them? Do they just sink to the bottom? They could do more harm than good

    November 7, 2018
    Reply
  12. Anna-Maree Castillo said:

    Dear SCIENCE,
    I ❤ You, but PLEASE leave animals OUT of the equation. They have no voice. They have no choice.
    🙈🙉🙊

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  13. Sharlene Gray said:

    I have uveitis and get injections to treat macular oedema. It's usually a steroid injection delivered through the white of the eye into the vitreous but last time it was a steroid implant they injected, that slowly released the steroid and eventually dissolved. I thought that was an incredible step forward in the treatment of eye conditions (even though it was uncomfortable getting it injected) but this is really fascinating.

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  14. N07H1N9H3R3 said:

    nanomachines huh

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  15. Jia Hong Situ said:

    years? Hopefully months

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  16. Hokunin said:

    Feminists would be soooo against this. Patriarchal misogynist scientists made nanobots look like chauvinistic sperm, practically saying that masculine sperm form is somehow superior than ovum form! – A grave mistake, this is not some micro-aggression, this is macro giant aggression against women! Sexism! Raging SJW feminist must be writing a rant blog somewhere already.

    After all, when scientists landed probe on asteroid, the only thing that mattered to feminazis and hipsters was a…. – shirt.

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  17. Bobby Ricky said:

    Fantastic Voyage!

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  18. ZombieTubular said:

    Why the annoying and distracting background music?

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  19. Trav2016 said:

    The eyes receive the least amount of T-cells compared to our core areas because a small infection could lead to blindness otherwise.

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  20. Samuel Davidson said:

    Scientific perversion. If ANYONE suffers it's just pseudo science!!

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  21. David Elliott Lewis said:

    Getting the bots into the eye appears much easier than getting them out again. Flooding a Human eye with small objects that hang around may be a problem.

    November 8, 2018
    Reply
  22. pmboston said:

    In a pig’s eye!

    November 9, 2018
    Reply
  23. Angel Campoverde said:

    That would leave the patients feeling violated.

    November 14, 2018
    Reply
  24. Ernest Yeap said:

    Why must it be injection. Can’t eye drop be enough?

    March 30, 2019
    Reply
  25. bebehas bebehas said:

    Attach these nanobots to synapses or nerve paths, and you weill be able to read thoughts. i.e. ditch your keyboard and type without fingers.

    May 12, 2019
    Reply
  26. Ernest Yeap said:

    Can nanobots be used for lasik?

    August 4, 2019
    Reply

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