A new approach which wirelessly powers micro-robots for biomedical applications has been developed by the research team at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany.
For developing a wireless micro-robot for biomedical applications, a small-scale biological media powered wireless motor is required. Though, small robots can be powered wirelessly through magnetic fields, these do not offer selectivity. Because of this, under magnetic field, all the components that control motion (termed as actuators) start following the same motion.
A team of German researchers have addressed this delicate issue of specificity in magnetic actuation by using micro-bubbles to power micro-robots for biomedical applications. They applied ultrasound at several frequencies to individually address multiple actuators. Then, a standard commercial polymer which traps air bubbles was used. They then used this air-liquid interface to transform the ultrasound power into mechanical motion.
Tian Qiu, one of the researches, stated that since the actuators do not need on-board electronics, they are smaller, safer and lighter. Further, this approach can be scaled to the sub-millimeter size, he said. This approach promises new possibilities in developing miniature tools and devices for fluid environments accessible to low intensity ultrasound fields.