Nano-droids manipulating cells directly

Home Technologist 11 Nano-droids manipulating cells directly

Danish researchers are developing micro-robots that can treat cells. 


Is it science fiction, or will armies of micro-robots someday be able to travel through the body to treat sick cells? For Jesper Glückstad of the Technical University of Denmark, the idea is worth exploring. With his team in the Department of Photonics Engineering, he has developed “nano-droids” for manipulating cells directly. These 3D-printed devices measuring 0.04 x 0.04 millimetres are equipped with probes that can take samples or deliver drugs to cells inside the body.

The long-term goal is to inject these laser- controlled micro-robots into the body, where they would act independently. For now, however, they exist only in the lab. The potential is already huge, says Glückstad.

“They will provide a non-invasive way of applying specific stimuli to cells or of extracting cancer cells from the bloodstream so that they can be analysed with unparalleled precision.”

Article by Robert Gloy and Benjamin Keller


Robots vs Jobs

The looming confrontation
Technologist Issue 13

A universal basic income would mitigate the negative effects of automation. But it might be more effective if combined with…
Robert West, researcher at EPFLRobert West, researcher at EPFL

A Swiss researcher has created a system that scans Wikipedia for important articles that are missing in other languages. This project…
Milo Swinkels

A young field of specialisation.