MIT Demos a Stomach-Repairing Origami Meat Robot

Published by , May 15, 2016 11:53 pm

(ArsTechnia) Researchers at MIT have revealed an origami meat robot that they designed to patch stomach wounds, deliver medicine, and remove dangerous foreign objects that patients may have accidentally swallowed. In early simulations with pig esophagus and gut tissue, the robot traveled down to the stomach in an ice capsule that melted along the way. Once there, the robot unfolded and could be steered around the stomach using external magnets.
The meat robot builds on other origami robots the lab has made. It consists of two layers: one of a biodegradable shrink wrap called Biolefin and another of dried pig intestines used in sausage casings. Embedded in the center of one of the robot’s accordion folds is a tiny magnet that allows the robot to be steered using magnetic fields outside the body. The same magnet can pick up a button battery. Each year, thousands of kids accidentally swallow button batteries—the tiny fuel cells from toys, wristwatches, calculators, and other common household gadgets.

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