A group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology has showcased an invention that could have impressive healthcare applications.
The team created an upgraded origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule in a person’s stomach where it can be steered through external magnetic fields, according to MIT’s announcement.
The machine is designed with two outer layers of structural material that house a material in the middle that shrinks when heated. A small number of slits sitting in the middle material support malleability while at the same time adding a level of stiffness so it can unfold from the capsule.
A magnet stationed in one of the outside folds responds to morphing magnetic fields outside the body in order for the researchers to control the robot. A demonstration showed that the robot was able to safely remove a battery from a simulated stomach.
The group presented its research this week at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Other research areas the team may explore is repairing wounds inflicted by foreign objects residing in the stomach, too.
Watch it in action below.
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