Daily Mail

ROBO-DOC

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

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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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