How Slime Robots can Save your Life one day
September 06 2022 0 Comment

Slime robots may look like an alien from a Sci-Fi Movie, but these soft robots could save lives by going inside the human body and soon turn the future of robotics.

Robots are becoming more flexible and intelligent than ever. Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have created soft robots, with the help of magnetic slime, that can reconfigure themselves into different shapes to grab objects.

The slime robot is prepared by blending polyvinyl alcohol (a polymer), borax, and adding tiny neodymium magnet particles to give magnetic control. The result is a non-Newtonian fluid that behaves like a liquid or solid depending on force and can be manoeuvred using external magnets.

Here are some intriguing features and promising possibilities of this ingenious invention that are sure to blow your mind.

  • The re-configurable soft bodied robots are solid enough to grasp an object but flexible enough to go inside tricky areas. As slime is a good electrical conductor, it is being used to interconnect electrodes, connect wires or repair broker circuits in hard-to-reach places.
  • Not just electrical procedures, researchers predict that these slime robots could also be inserted into the human body to recover accidentally swallowed objects. With viscoelastic properties, slime robots can squeeze itself through narrows spaces and work together to encircle small foreign objects such as battery or sharp objects in the digestive tract.
  • The robots navigate narrow passages with a diameter of 1.5 mm (0.06 inches) in a non-invasive way and can be remotely dragged with a magnetic capsule to guide hazardous objects out of the body.

  • Even when this stretchy slime is cut into pieces it can self-heal and its shape-shifting ability allows it to travel, rotate, form C or O shapes to grasp objects. It can encircle a group of pellets, and even stretch out in multiple directions to clasp items on different sides.

The possibilities in future

  • Magnetic particles are toxic and with robotics fitted into a soft design; scientist want to prevent leakage of toxic particles inside a living being. The magnetic particles have to be coated with silicon to hypothetically make them safe for use in the body. So, scientists are now working on developing fail-proof protective layers to make these slime robots totally safe for use inside human bodies. They are also adding colour dyes or pigments to give a more alluring colour to the slime.
  • In the medical field this technology is still in its infancy as there is work going on to make slime robots totally free of toxins. If the technology becomes sufficiently safe and effective, it can help doctors recover gulped down objects, squeeze robots into places previously deemed impractical and help in targeted delivery of medicines inside the body. Once perfected these slimy creatures will turn a viable tool during surgeries and soon turn the future of medicine.

Isn’t it amazing that scientists have brought something like this to life. Aren’t these robots super cool to work within the confines of the human body and make some invasive medical procedures much easier on the patient and the doctor. What do you think, do let us know your views.