Researcher Uses Swimming Sperm Energy Production Idea to Power Tiny Robots, Nanobots

In order to deliver medicine inside the human body, nanoscale medical devices need energy to carry out tasks, such as releasing drugs. Alex Travis, Cornell assistant professor of veterinary medicine, suggests creating a system that generates power for nanoscale robots, based upon how sperm make energy to swim. Travis presented his research at the American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting.

“One of the major limitations in making implantable, nanomedical devices is providing power to them,” said Travis, who conducts his research at the James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health, part of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “If you can engineer a device that can make its own energy, then it can potentially last longer and regulate its own task rate.”

Another potential use for this technology: creating nanoscale pumps that could release chemotherapeutics or antibiotics into specific places in the body.

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