August 15, 2022

Corkscrew-shaped robot swims through blood vessels to clear blockages

Corkscrew-shaped robot swims through blood vessels to clear blockages
Corkscrew-shaped robot swims through blood vessels to clear blockagesCorkscrew-shaped robot swims through blood vessels to clear blockages

Laboratory tests show a tiny robot with a helical propeller inspired by bacteria can swim through veins and deliver clot-busting drugs

Technology 10 January 2022

Illustration of a blood clot and, inset, the helical microrobot

CHRISTOPH BURGSTEDT/Getty Images/Science Phot Library. Inset: Qianqian Wang, Xingzhou Du, Dongdong Jin, and Li Zhang

A corkscrew-shaped microrobot inspired by the tails of bacteria like E. coli can swim through blood vessels and help unblock clots.

Li Zhang at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his colleagues inserted the robot into a synthetic vein filled with pig’s blood, and found it made blood clot-busting drugs work nearly five times better than the drug by itself.

“The helical structure is just like a propeller, so [the robot] can deliver the cargo from point A to …