A team of researchers at MIT (and two other universities) have just invented an ingestible robot that once swallowed can unfold itself in your stomach, potentially healing wounds and removing foreign objects.
Unveiled by a group of researchers from MIT, the University of Sheffield and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the capsule can be guided by an external magnetic field. Being able to control the device allows for it’s use in the aid of patching internal woulds, delivering medicine and even removing foreign objects.
Made mostly of dried pig intestine (and a small magnet), it’s like putting a stomach inside a stomach! When folded up in it’s “origami form” the device can easily be swallowed by the average person.
When it reachers the stomach acidic juices react with it, unfolding the pig intestine. It can then be guided, using the small magnet attached to it, and complete various procedures and repair jobs.
While still in development, the potential uses for such a device are very cool.
“For applications inside the body, we need a small, controllable, untethered robot system. It’s really difficult to control and place a robot inside the body if the robot is attached to a tether.” – Daniela Rus, director of MIT’s Computer Science and A.I. Laboratory and co-creator.
The demonstration showed the robot being used to remove a swallowed battery from the stomach! It was actually able to remove it fairly easily. The simulation was done using a pig’s stomach filled with water and lemon juice to simulate a human stomach.