Scientists have developed the ‘Proteus motor’ (named after the ship in Fantastic Voyage), which, at only 2.5 times the width of a human hair, is capable of swimming through the bloodstream, taking pictures and sending useful information to doctors that normally would require an incision. Which is fantastic and all, but we can’t get over the fact that it looks like sperm– piezoelectric-fueled sperm!
“The motor could be injected into the bloodstream to make current methods of minimally invasive surgery such as keyhole surgery safer and more effective.
Despite the obvious advantages of minimally invasive procedures over cut and sew methods, there is still room for minimizing risk according to research team leader Professor James Friend.
“Serious damage during minimally invasive surgery is however not always avoidable and surgeons are often limited by the width of a catheter tube for example, which in serious cases, can fatally puncture narrow arteries,” Professor Friend said.
The micro-motor would carry tiny cameras and sensor equipment and could access parts of the body, like a stroke-damaged artery in the brain, that are beyond the reach of catheters.
To achieve its swimming motion, the vibrating motor is attached to a spiral tail that spins at up to 1295 rpm and acts as a kind of propeller to drive the device forward in a motion similar to that used by bacterial flagella. “