MIT engineers are moving towards a future of surgery that may involve robotic devices that are soft and gentle to prevent unwanted damage, yet strong enough to be able to manipulate tissue. Having developed robots made out of hydrogel and powered by water, they are certainly leading the way toward that future. Although the device isn’t performing surgeries quite yet, it’s certainly illuminating what may be possible. The components of the robot are hollow and linked to external pumps via flexible tubes. Their shape is designed so that when water is moved in and out of them, the robots move and flex in pre-defined ways. Hydrogels – composed mostly of water, are biocompatible and have a consistency similar to water, potentially making them particularly useful at working with extremely fragile tissue.
- New Discovery