Israeli scientists invent robot ‘sub’ that travels through human veins

Tel Aviv: Israeli scientists have created a robot ‘submarine’ which is so small it can swim through the veins to provide medical treatment.

Dr Nir Schwalb, of the Judea and Samaria College, and Oded Salomon, of the Israel Institute of Technology, say their machine has the unique ability to ‘crawl’ through tubes the width of blood vessels and is even able to travel against the flow of blood, using magnetic power, as it passes through veins and arteries.

Previous micro-robots have been too large to enter the smallest and most complex areas of the body but the latest is one millimetre in diameter and has tiny arms which allow it to ‘grip’ as it travels along. The robot is still in development but it is hoped that in future it may be used to treat a variety of diseases including cancer.

Mr Salomon said: ‘We believe we have created a robot that will be tiny enough to pass through the body and at the same time have navigational abilities for performing-complex medical tasks. We are discussing with doctors from many different fields which application will be most useful.

Micro-surgery is usually carried out with catheters and endoscopes which are far too large for most parts of the body.