How ro­bot­ics is chang­ing mod­ern medicine. This week: Mi­nus­cule ro­bot in the body

Daily Mail - - Good Health -

SCI­EN­TISTS at the Uni­ver­sity of Manch­ester have cre­ated a ground-break­ing mini ro­bot that can build and ma­nip­u­late mol­e­cules, paving the way for med­i­cal treat­ments and man­u­fac­tur­ing.

At a mil­lionth of a mil­lime­tre, the ro­bots — made from 150 atoms of car­bon, hy­dro­gen, oxy­gen and ni­tro­gen — use a tiny arm, chem­i­cal re­ac­tions and pro­gram-like in­struc­tions from sci­en­tists to make com­pounds on de­mand.

Work­ing on such a small scale re­duces the need for ma­te­ri­als and sug­gests the pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing sub­stances one build­ing block at a time in­side the hu­man body. This could mean in­stead of vis­it­ing a phar­ma­cist for your pre­scrip­tion, it could be syn­the­sised by a tiny fac­tory some­where on your per­son.

And molec­u­lar fac­to­ries could man­u­fac­ture drugs on de­mand as med­i­cal prob­lems arise.

Re­search leader Pro­fes­sor David Leigh, of the uni­ver­sity’s School of Chem­istry, claims the ro­bots could be in use within one to two decades.

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