Mini Robots Come to Life With Newly-Invented Magnetic Spray

5 mins read

CityU’s Magnetic Spray Discovery

Last week, the City University of Hongkong’s Dr. Shen Yajing and his colleagues invented a magnetic spray that can turn objects into miniature androids and machines. According to Dr. Yajing, the created automatons could help deliver drugs and medications to people in the healthcare industry, making the method less tedious and straightforward for medical doctors and nurses to do so with their patients needing treatment.

The glue-like magnetic spray can turn small objects, such as pills, into mini-robots capable of navigating inside the body and supply drugs to particular bodily systems. The tiny androids’ movements get determined by controlling magnets to guide them where they need to go.

In its final testing stages, Dr. Yajing and his group of medical researchers used the spray to make small objects flip, crawl, and roll using magnets. They even tried to make an origami crane’s wings get animated with the aid of the magnetic spray. According to Dr. Yajing, the spray contains the M-spray chemical – a substance consisting of iron particles, polyvinyl alcohol, and gluten. 

How the M-spray Works

Moreover, CityU’s research team explains how M-spray substance works. According to them, the said chemical component magically modifies microscopic inanimate entities into lively robots. These automatons can then adapt explorative duties for a wide variety of biomedical purposes.

Dr. Yajing further stated that his team’s goal of doing this project is to transform any object into a robot and control its locomotion using the spray’s magnetic layer. He added that their M-spray design could stick itself in targeted things, and when a magnetic field is present, activate it.

Objects can transform into persevering millirobots when they get affected by a magnetic field. Additionally, a person can control the tiny androids’ movements in any way they wish. The magnetic-affected machines can roll on different surfaces like sand, paper, wood, glass, and skin. They could also walk, flip, bounce, and crawl. Moreover, the millirobots’ movements are viable for reprogramming, making the invention extra flexible and adaptable.

The idea of small, insect-scale robots navigating inside your body to do their intended duties may freak you out. However, the City University of Hongkong’s medical researchers assures you that it isn’t a process that is scary as you think it is. During an interview with the media, Dr. Yajing clarified that the invention of the magnetic spray’s goal is to employ millirobots to assist in biomedical operations, such as providing catheter navigations and targeted drug deliveries. The new technological tool helps make the previously mentioned processes less demanding to execute.

M-spray Study Findings and Research

Considering the testing results of their project, the City University of Hongkong researchers seemed the creation of the magnetic spray notably easy to make. When necessary, the spray’s particular magnetic coating could dissolve to primary powders and is fully biocompatible. Directed by the corresponding magnetic field and as an outcome of the coated substance, the sprayed tiny objects can creep, walk, crawl, or roll along surfaces. Additionally, these small androids can navigate around an individual’s inner bodily systems.

Currently, the online scientific journal Science Robotics published the scientists’ findings on the magnetic spray invention. A collaboration with researchers coming from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) did the study at CityU’s Department of Biological Engineering’s (BME) facilities. 

Yang Xiong, one of the study’s co-authors, stated that once built, a tiny robot’s structure becomes fixed – when put in motion, it hinders its usefulness. However, when the hardened M-spray coating makes an adhesive similar to glue, applying an intense magnetic field causes the alteration of the coating’s magnetic particles’ alignment and distribution.

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