The objective of this research is to develop a microscale medibot (medical robot) of 20~150 ?Ým in size, which can swim inside the human body. The approach is to utilize the recently discovered propelling phenomena occurring in oscillating microbubbles.

Intellectual Merit: The proposed research will generate an understanding and knowledge of propulsion physics and mechanisms, develop a system-level medibot device, and apply the device to a model application. Additional intellectual merits are: (i) The use of microbubbles inside the human body is clinically proven as microbubbles are currently injected into the blood vessels and used as ultrasound contrast agents; (ii) Seeded medibots in the body can be easily propelled and located by existing ultrasound imaging systems; (iii) Medibots are powered wirelessly, not requiring any physical wiring; and (iv) The propulsion system is very simple, making device fabrication much easier.

Broader Impact: The proposed medibot can be used for navigating through low-speed blood vessels and quiescent fluid-filled regions, providing direct access to extremely hard-to-reach spots in the human body that would not be realized by using currently existing interventional robots. This capability has tremendous impact on various potential biomedical applications, possibly opening a new horizon in drug delivery, bio-sensing, and bio-surgery. This research will also have significant impact on education by re-engineering interdisciplinary coursework for both undergraduates and graduates; having graduates and undergraduates involved in research especially from the underrepresented groups; demonstrating results from this project in local K-12 schools or community museums; and improving infrastructure for training in interdisciplinary micro-science/engineering.

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University of Pittsburgh
United States
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