|Credit: Tel Aviv University and Brigham & Women's Hospital|
Presently doctors can already have patients swallow a pill-sized camera. Pictures are taken every half second or so until the camera is passed. However, doctors have no control of the camera's movement when they wanted pictures of specific part of the body. One challenge with the robot idea is how to power the robot because embedding large power supplies would increase the size of the robot and cause other problems. The beauty of the proposed solution is that it uses magnetic field to control the movement of the robot via the little copper and polymer tail. And since MRI machines are already a common device in hospitals, they can become very handy.
I remember seeing a video of how live bacterias can be controlled by magnetic fields to push around a "nano-robot" in a Discovery Channel documentary. In this case, the magnetic field controls the robot directly which is probably more predictable than trying to control bacterias.
Some people even suggest that we can leave such robots inside us permanently like parasites. Now imagine having a bunch of these things inside your body, constantly posting images or videos online of your internal like those live web cams.... Now you not only have no privacy outside of your body, you don't even have privacy inside your body.... Well, but if lives can be saved, I guess it's okay.
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The good news: the robot is reusable!
The bad news: the robot is reusable!