Tiny star-shaped nanobots designed by Johns Hopkins researchers can dig into intestinal tissue and time-release drugs into the body in a far more effective manner than traditional methods.
The modern-day robotic shape-changing device was designed after the parasitic hookworm which affixes itself inside the human body using its teeth.
“The ‘theragrippers’ are made of metal and a thin, shape-changing film, then coated in heat-sensitive paraffin wax,” Patrick Smith reports for Johns Hopkins University. “The devices, each roughly the size of a dust speck, can potentially carry any drug and release it gradually into the body.”
Smith’s report states that thousands of grippers can be deployed into the body that will transform once they reach temperature.
“When the paraffin wax coating on the grippers reaches the temperature inside the body, the devices close autonomously and clamp onto the colonic wall,” the report reads. “The closing action causes the tiny, six-pointed devices to dig into the mucosa and remain attached to the colon, where they are retained and release their medicine payloads gradually into the body.”
Repercussions of technology
With the good comes the bad. Technology is often a dual-edged sword. This is especially true if technology falls into the wrong hands. With that being said, several questions about this development remain.
Can these grippers be used for nefarious purposes? If so, can the grippers be inserted via cotton swab through the nostrils where they can attach themselves near the brain? (i.e. in COVID-19 swab tests)
Can the noanobots have microdot tracers or signal generators affixed to them which could serve as a tracking device?
H/T: @AuroraLou3 on Twitter
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