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A Robot Small Enough to Explore the Lungs

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The researchers manufactured the magnetic tentacle robot from a series of interlinked cylindrical segments, each 2mm in diameter and around 80mm in length.

The university's Pietro Valdastri said, “A magnetic tentacle robot or catheter that measures 2mm and whose shape can be magnetically controlled to conform to the bronchial tree anatomy can reach most areas of the lung, and would be an important clin

Credit: University of Leeds (U.K.)

A magnetic tentacle robot developed by researchers at the U.K.'s University of Leeds is tiny enough to take tissue samples from the lung's smallest bronchial vessels, or to deliver cancer therapy.

Magnets outside the patient can guide the robot into position, making the device more maneuverable than a bronchoscope, while also personalizing each procedure.

The researchers assembled the robot from interlinked cylindrical segments two millimeters in diameter and about 80 millimeters long.

The elastomeric segments are infused with magnetic particles, enabling them to move somewhat independently under an external magnetic field.

Preoperative lung scans chart the robot's route throughout the lungs and are fed into the guidance system.

Leeds' Cecilia Pompili said the system will "diagnose and treat lung cancer more reliably and safely, guiding the instruments at the periphery of the lungs without the use of additional x-rays."

From University of Leeds (U.K.)
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