Research ArticleMEDICAL ROBOTS

Endoscopy-assisted magnetic navigation of biohybrid soft microrobots with rapid endoluminal delivery and imaging

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Science Robotics  17 Mar 2021:
Vol. 6, Issue 52, eabd2813
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.abd2813

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Abstract

High-precision delivery of microrobots at the whole-body scale is of considerable importance for efforts toward targeted therapeutic intervention. However, vision-based control of microrobots, to deep and narrow spaces inside the body, remains a challenge. Here, we report a soft and resilient magnetic cell microrobot with high biocompatibility that can interface with the human body and adapt to the complex surroundings while navigating inside the body. We achieve time-efficient delivery of soft microrobots using an integrated platform called endoscopy-assisted magnetic actuation with dual imaging system (EMADIS). EMADIS enables rapid deployment across multiple organ/tissue barriers at the whole-body scale and high-precision delivery of soft and biohybrid microrobots in real time to tiny regions with depth up to meter scale through natural orifice, which are commonly inaccessible and even invisible by conventional endoscope and medical robots. The precise delivery of magnetic stem cell spheroid microrobots (MSCSMs) by the EMADIS transesophageal into the bile duct with a total distance of about 100 centimeters can be completed within 8 minutes. The integration strategy offers a full clinical imaging technique–based therapeutic/intervention system, which broadens the accessibility of hitherto hard-to-access regions, by means of soft microrobots.

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