This snake-like robot slithers through blood vessels in the brain to release blood clots.
MIT researchers created a robotic thread that travels through brain vessels to treat blockages and lesions that can cause strokes and aneurysms. The soft robot is controlled remotely using magnets and is coated in hydrogen to move smoothly through vessels. It’s smaller than a catheter, which doctors traditionally use to administer drugs to blockages along a manually inserted wire.
Stroke is the 5th cause of death and leading cause of disability in the United States. Researchers say the robot opens possibilities of remote care for those without access to such procedures. It could also protect surgeons from harsh radiation exposure.
“It’s a demanding skill, and there are simply not enough surgeons for the patients, especially in suburban or rural areas,” the study’s lead author Yoonho Kim told MIT News. “Existing platforms could apply magnetic field and do the fluoroscopy procedure at the same time to the patient, and the doctor could be in the other room or even a different city, controlling the magnetic field with a joystick.”