Researchers from the Netherlands and Germany have come up with a remote controlled robotic sperm that they can navigate to a target using magnets.
Researchers from the Netherlands, Germany and Egypt have built a remote controlled robotic sperm they can navigate to a target using a magnetic field.
Doctor Sarthak Misra, a robotics engineer at the University of Twente in the Netherlands is quoted as saying: “We have built a biologically inspired micro-robot that looks like a sperm cell but is completely fabricated in the lab. The magnetic head is used to orient it
in a certain direction and then, just by flapping its tail, it starts to move forward.”
Appropriately called MagnetoSperm, the design has a flexible body around six times longer than human sperm, but moves quite a bit slower than the real thing, at half of its body length per second.
The head and tail are constructed of a strong polymer, and a cobalt-nickel layer is coated on the head allowing researchers to control its movement with electromagnets.
This technology could be used not only to help with fertilization, but also for chemotherapy treatment.
Patients who undergo chemotherapy to kill cancer cells can experience serious negative side effects if healthy cells are damaged in the process.
Using the sperm-like robots, doctors could more accurately target the cancer cells and could help protect healthy cells from exposure.