An Inside Job: Using Tiny Robot Swarms to Heal the Body
Becker, Aaron T.
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In the Disney Movie, “Big Hero 6,” the protagonist, Hiro, offers a profound view into the future by manufacturing a swarm of 100,000 microbots. Hiro controls them to self-assemble, to build structures, and to transport goods and materials. While the “microrobots” of the film are fantasy, the ideas are rooted in reality. Today, microrobots can be produced in extremely large quantities, but due to their tiny size they have limited autonomy. Instead, today’s microbots are usually simple particles that are steered from the outside, often using magnetic fields. In my talk, I’ll offer insight on how our techniques will enable physicians to steer large numbers of simple robots from the outside, and share how we are using MRI scanners to steer particles for targeted therapy, medical interventions, and drug delivery in regions inaccessible by large robots.