Micromedicine Advances in Research on Swarming Robots

Micromedicine is one of the most studied fields of medical robot developers, and recently, another research using tiny robots has been launched. Research on swarming robots led by Sheffield Centre for Robotics is expected to yield results that could help establish rules for the development of tiny nanobots for micromedicine.

This research involves the use of forty small, independently moving swarm robots that can be programmed to swarm together when given command of when they encounter a specific stimulus. The result of this study is hoped to give way to the development of swarms of miniature nanobot drones that can attack, with microscopic precision, harmful pathogens in the human body.

In a news release, Dr. Roderich Gross, head of the University of Sheffield's Natural Robotics Lab, disclosed that they are developing artificial intelligence to control these robots in a variety of ways. “The key is to work out what is the minimum amount of information needed by the robot to accomplish its task,” revealed Dr. Gross. “That's important because it means the robot may not need any memory and, possibly, not even a processing unit, so this technology could work for nanoscale robots, for example in medical applications.”

The coding of these robots is kept simple as possible. Each swarm robot is programmed to sense the presence of another within its proximity. According to the programmers of the robot, “if the robots are being asked to group together, each robot only needs to be able to work out if there is another robot in front of it. If there is, it turns on the spot; if there isn't, it moves in a wider circle until it finds one.”

According to Gross, he imagines a future where these nanobots provide non-invasive medical treatments to human patients. His concept for this non-invasive medicine includes an alternative method for invasive surgery and chemotherapy, which can yield risky complications and/or side effects, these nanobots can swarm to the source of cancerous tumors and release the medicine in the area, and/or breakdown the blockage in arteries.

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