‘Fantastic Voyage’ through the digestive track
December 19, 2011
In a scene out of the movie Fantastic Voyage, Dr. Gabor Kosa of Tel Aviv University has developed a wireless “capsule endoscope” that can be remotely steered through the digestive tract to detect problem like hidden tumors or wounds, or allow for treatments such as biopsies or local drug delivery.
However, rather than miniaturized people (the technology is not quite there yet), the device is remotely controlled by the magnetic field of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine and electronic signals.
To help the capsules “swim” (fish-like), flexible plastic “tails” about 20 mm long and 5 mm wide are vibrated by the magnetic field via copper coils, achieving a speed of several millimeters per second.
Electronics and microsensors embedded in the capsule allow the capsule’s operator to guide the movement of the device.
Ref.: Gábor Kósa, Péter Jakab, Gábor Székely and Nobuhiko Hata, MRI driven magnetic microswimmers, Biomedical Microdevices, 28 October 2011