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Liquid Robot Can Split & Reassemble on it’s own, Future of Drug Delivery

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Liquid Robot Can Split & Reassemble on it’s own, Future of Drug Delivery-GadgetAny

Interesting Engineering recently reported a miraculous study by researchers published in Science Advances—a soft robot named SMFR or Scale-Reconfigurable Miniature Ferrofluidic Robot. Additionally, the soft robot can split into smaller units and reassemble itself back to its original size.

About the Research

The team behind the soft robot development includes researchers from Taiwan-based Soochow University, Harbin Institute of Technology in China, and Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany. In addition, the researchers made the SMFR using oil-based ferrofluid droplets that contain iron oxide nanoparticles dipped in hydrocarbon oil. 

soft robot


Furthermore, it is essential to note that, like solid iron, ferrofluid is responsive to magnets and magnetic fields. Thus, they are easy to control and offer great flexibility with fast motion. Therefore, ferrofluid is much preferred by scientists to develop shape-shifting soft robots. 

Moreover, the ferrofluid particles in SMFR are loosely bound to each other. Hence, it enables the soft robot to easily navigate through narrow passages, adjust its shape, and even split under the influence of a magnetic field. 

soft robot


To test the abilities of SMFR, the team used a maze with tight and complex passages, hard turns, and obstacles. Astonishingly, the soft robot easily moved through the maze by shape-shifting, shrinking, elongating, and reassembling. In addition, the researchers used multiple magnetic fields to control the splitting and reassembling of SMFR as necessary.  

How Will the Soft Robot Smfr Benefit Biomedicine?

According to Interesting Engineering, the team believes that “SMFR demonstrates a unique combination of abilities like easy deformation, effortless scale-reconfiguration, and fast locomotion.” They claim that these “qualities could turn the soft robot into a great technology for fields related to biomedicine and micro-assembly.”

Additionally, the researchers think that SMFR can be beneficial in minimally invasive surgery and contactless manipulation of biological fluids. The reason is that the SMFR is made according to the shape of the microfluidic channels used to deliver medicine to certain parts of the body. 

Furthermore, SMFR’s flexibility will enable it to deliver drugs at specific target locations, unlike traditional drugs injected into the bloodstream. The reason is that this soft robot can squeeze through tiny gaps inside the human body with ease. 

Moreover, SMFR can remain at the target location as long as necessary. And once drug delivery is complete, the body can absorb its droplets before the next dose. The researchers also claim that SMFR can deliver drugs 100 times faster than the body’s own cells in the bloodstream. 

Lastly, Interesting Engineering reported that “a soft robot like SMFR can give rise to applications capable of delivering drugs to human body parts that would not be accessible otherwise.” However, ferrofluid is still a developing piece of technology that still requires much work to improve the performance and accuracy of SMFR.

Fakun Gram

By Fakun Gram

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