National Geographic: 12 innovations that will revolutionise the future of medicine - featuring ACSE's ingestible robot

Great to see two of our academic’s Dr Dana Damian and Dr Shuhei Miyashita featured in National Geographic for their work on an ingestible robot that will revolutionise the future of medicine.

National Geographic Origami Robot Image

The ingestible robot made out of dried pig intestine is presented in the form of a pill size capsule made of ice perfect for swallowing, that contains an origami robot. The robot can then unfurl as the ice melts in the stomach and go on to carry out specific tasks such as; remove foreign objects, repair wounds and deliver medicine at designated locations – eliminating the need for surgery.

The robot consists of two layers of structural material, sandwiching a material that shrinks when heated and a pattern of slits in the outer layers determines how the robot will fold when the middle layer contracts. The robot not only has to be stiff enough but also has to be small enough to propel itself using a ‘stick-slip’ motion. In which the robot’s appendages stick to a surface through friction when it executes a move, but slip free again when tis body flexes to change its weight distribution. In the centre of one of the folders is a magnet that responds to changing magnetic fields outside the body and controls the robot’s movement. A variation in applied magnetic forces instruct the robot where it should go and what it should do.

The origami robot sits alongside 12 other innovations featured in National Geographic. Make sure to grab a copy of the January 2019 issue, or read more here.