|ViRob, or Virus Robot, is a bit of an oddity at the moment, but it is one of the
first of a new trend for swallowable robotic systems. At just 1mm wide, powered
by twelve bristle 'legs', three on each side, this cuboid robot, is designed to
go up the nose, down the throat, up the colon, or any other cavity that is desired,
and bring with it a pharmaceutical payload designed for pinpoint delivery.
So rather than giving enough drug to affect the whole body, ViRob delivers it
to exactly where it is needed, then exits.
Another hope being looked at by its creators, is the addition of extra equipment
on ViRob: Cameras, miniature tongs and other miniature equipment. This would allow
the robot to surgically remove part of the patient, and exit with that part, as
well as allow tele-operating surgeons to guide one or more of these robots into
From the initial announcement:
The operator can manipulate the robot to move in increments, and its unique
structure allows it to crawl within a variety of vessels with differing diameters.
As indicated, different human body's cavities differ from each other in diameter,
making it extremely important for the robot to be able to adjust accordingly.
The robot had been fabricated using MEMS technology and as depicted is having
a diameter of 1[mm] and can be further reduced. Crawling speed is up to 9[mm/sec]
if applied into bent or non-bent lumens having diameters ranging from 3[mm]
up to 4[mm], It should be noted that the above capabilities also apply to
biological tissues like veins and arteries.
a Cavities Crawler
an autonomous crawling micro-robot (PDF)