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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Foldable, organic and easily broken down: Why DNA is the material of choice for nanorobots

5/10/21 ... erial.html

Only in cancer medicine do clinicians aim to attack and kill legions of a patient's own cells. But healthy bystander cells often get caught in deadly crossfire, which is why cancer treatments can cause severe side effects in patients.

Researchers seek smarter medicines to target the bad guys only. One hope is that tiny robots on the scale of a billionth of a meter can come to the rescue, delivering drugs directly to rogue cancer cells. To make these nanorobots, researchers in Europe are turning to the basic building blocks of life—DNA.

Today, robots come in all shapes and sizes. One of the strongest industrial robots can lift cars weighing over two tons. But materials such as silicon are not so suitable at the smallest scales.

While you can make really small patterns in solid silicon, you can't really make it into mechanical devices below 100 nanometres, says Professor Kurt Gothelf, chemist and DNA nanotechnologist at Aarhus University in Denmark. That's where DNA comes in. "The diameter of the DNA helix is only two nanometres," says Prof. Gothelf. A red blood cell is about 6,000 nanometres across.


Dr. Tania Patiño, a nanotechnologist at the University of Rome in Italy, says DNA is like Lego. "You have these tiny building blocks and you can put them together to create any shape you want," she explained. To continue the analogy, DNA comes in four different colored blocks and two of the colors pair up opposite one another. This makes them predictable.

Once you string a line of DNA blocks together, another line will pair up opposite. Scientists have learnt how to string DNA together in such a way that they introduce splits and bends. "By clever design, you branch out DNA strands so that you now have three dimensions," said Prof Gothelf. "It is very easy to predict how it folds."

Dr. Patiño is developing self-propelled DNA nanorobotics in her project, DNA-Bots. "DNA is highly tuneable," she said. "We can have software that shows us which sequences produce which shape. This is not possible with other materials at this tiny scale."

While DNA nanorobots are a long way from being used in people, with Prof. Gothelf saying that 'we won't see any medicines based on this in the next ten years," progress is being made in the lab. Already scientists can obtain a string of DNA from a virus, and then design using software shorter stretches of DNA to pair with and bend the string into a desired shape. "This amazing technique is called DNA origami," said Prof. Gothelf. It allows scientists to create 3D bots made from DNA.

In an early breakthrough, Prof. Gothelf's research lab made a DNA box with a lid that opened. Later, another group built a barrel-shaped robot that could open when it recognized cancer proteins, and release antibody fragments. This strategy is being pursued so that one day a DNA robot might approach a tumor, bind to it and release its killer cargo.

"With nanorobots we could have more specific delivery to a tumor," said Dr. Patiño. "We don't want our drugs to be delivered to the whole body." She is in the lab of Professor Francesco Ricci, which works on DNA devices for the detection of antibodies and delivery of drugs.

Meanwhile, the network Prof. Gothelf heads up, DNA-Robotics, is training young scientists to make parts for DNA robotics that can perform certain actions. Prof. Gothelf is working on a 'bolt and cable' that resembles a handbrake on a bike, where force in one place makes a change in another part of the DNA robot. A critical idea in the network is to 'plug and play," meaning that any parts built will be compatible in a future robot.


As well as carrying out specific functions, most robots can move. DNA robots are too miniscule to swim against our bloodstream, but it is still possible to engineer into them useful little engines using enzymes.

Dr. Patiño previously developed a DNA nanoswitch that could sense the acidity of its environment. Her DNA device also worked as a self-propelling micromotor thanks to an enzyme that reacted with common urease molecules found in our bodies and acted as a power source. "The chemical reaction can produce sufficient energy to generate movement," said Dr. Patiño.

Movement is important to get nanorobots to where they need to be. "We could inject these robots in the bladder and they harvest the chemical energy using urease and move," said Dr. Patiño. In future such movement 'will help them to treat a tumor or a disease site with more efficiency that passive nanoparticles, which cannot move." Recently, Patiño and others reported that nanoparticles fitted with nanomotors spread out more evenly than immobile particles when injected into the bladder of mice.

Rather than swim through blood, nanobots might be able to pass through barriers in our body. Most problems delivering drugs are due to these biological barriers, such as mucosal layers, notes Dr. Patiño. The barriers are there to impede germs, but often block drugs. Dr. Patiño's self-propelled DNA robots might change these barriers' permeability or simply motor on through them.


Nanoparticles can be expelled from a patient's bladder, but this option isn't as easy elsewhere in the body, where biodegradable robots that self-destruct might be necessary. DNA is an ideal material, as it is easily broken down inside of us. But this can also be a downside, as the body might quickly chew up a DNA bot before it gets the job done. Scientists are working on coating or camouflaging DNA and strengthening chemical bonds to boost stability.

One other potential downside is that naked pieces of DNA can be viewed by the immune system as signs of bacterial or viral foes. This may trigger an inflammatory reaction. As yet, no DNA nanobot has ever been injected into a person. Nonetheless, Prof. Gothelf is confident that scientists can get around these problems.

Indeed, stability and immune reaction were obstacles that the developers of mRNA vaccines—which deliver genetic instructions into the body inside a nanoparticle—had to get over. "The Moderna and the Pfizer (BioNTech) vaccines (for COVID-19) have a modified oligonucleotide strand that is formulated in a nano-vesicle, so it is close to being a small nanorobot," said Prof. Gothelf. He foresees a future where DNA nanorobots deliver drugs to exactly where needed. For example, a drug could be attached to a DNA robot with a special linker that gets cut by an enzyme that is only found inside certain cells, thus ensuring that drug is set free at a precise location.

But DNA robotics is not just for nanomedicine. Prof. Gothelf is mixing organic chemistry with DNA nanobots to transmit light along a wire that is just one molecule in width. This could further miniaturize electronics. DNA bots could assist manufacturing at the smallest scales, because they can place molecules at mind bogglingly tiny but precise distances from one another.

For now though, DNA robotics for medicine is what most scientists dream about. "You could make structures that are much more intelligent and much more specific than what is possible today," said Prof. Gothelf. "This has the potential to make a completely new generation of drugs."
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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Scientists make highly maneuverable miniature robots controlled by magnetic fields

6/15/21 ... 132258.htm

A team of scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed millimetre-sized robots that can be controlled using magnetic fields to perform highly manoeuvrable and dexterous manipulations. This could pave the way to possible future applications in biomedicine and manufacturing.

The research team created the miniature robots by embedding magnetic microparticles into biocompatible polymers -- non-toxic materials that are harmless to humans. The robots are 'programmed' to execute their desired functionalities when magnetic fields are applied.

The made-in-NTU robots improve on many existing small-scale robots by optimizing their ability to move in six degrees-of-freedom (DoF) -- that is, translational movement along the three spatial axes, and rotational movement about those three axes, commonly known as roll, pitch and yaw angles.

While researchers have previously created six DoF miniature robots, the new NTU miniature robots can rotate 43 times faster than them in the critical sixth DoF when their orientation is precisely controlled. They can also be made with 'soft' materials and thus can replicate important mechanical qualities -- one type can 'swim' like a jellyfish, and another has a gripping ability that can precisely pick and place miniature objects.

The research by the NTU team was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Advanced Materials in May 2021 and is featured as the front cover of the June 10 issue.

Lead author of the study, Assistant Professor Lum Guo Zhan from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering said the crucial factor that led to the team's achievement lie in the discovery of the 'elusive' third and final principal vector of these magnetic fields, which is critical for controlling such machines.

By contrast, previous works had only defined the applied magnetic fields in terms of two principal vectors.

"My team sought to uncover the fundamental working principles of miniature robots that have six-DoF motions through this work. By fully understanding the physics of these miniature robots, we are now able to accurately control their motions. Furthermore, our proposed fabrication method can magnetise these robots to produce 51 to 297 folds larger six-DoF torques than other existing devices. Our findings are therefore pivotal, and they represent a significant advancement for small-scale robotic technologies," explains Asst Prof Lum.

Remote-controlled miniature robots suitable for surgical, manufacturing use

Measuring about the size of a grain of rice, the miniature robots may be used to reach confined and enclosed spaces currently inaccessible to existing robots, say the NTU team, making them particularly useful in the field of medicine.

The movements of the robots can be controlled remotely by an operator, using a programme running on a control computer that precisely varies the strength and direction of magnetic fields generated by an electromagnetic coil system.

The miniature robots may also inspire novel surgical procedures for 'difficult-to-reach' vital organs such as the brain in future, the NTU team said, adding that much more work and testing still need to be accomplished before the miniature robots can eventually be deployed for their targeted medical applications.

Co-authors of the research, PhD students Xu Changyu and Yang Zilin from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering said, "Besides surgery, our robots may also be of value in biomedical applications such as assembling lab-on-chip devices that can be used for clinical diagnostics by integrating several laboratory processes on a single chip."

NTU miniature robots swim through barriers, assemble structures

In lab experiments, the research team demonstrated the dexterity and speed of the miniature robots.

Using a jellyfish inspired robot, the NTU team showed how it was able to swim speedily through a tight opening in a barrier when suspended in water. This demonstration was highly significant as it suggested that these robots were able to negotiate barriers in dynamic and uncertain environments and this could be a highly desirable ability for their targeted biomedical applications in future such as in surgical procedures for 'difficult-to-reach' vital organs such as the brain.

Demonstrating precise orientation control, the miniature robot also recorded a rotation speed of 173 degrees per second for their sixth DoF motion, exceeding the fastest rotation that existing miniature robots have achieved, which is four degrees per second for their sixth DoF motion.

With their gripper robot, the scientists were able to assemble a 3D structure consisting of a bar sitting atop two Y-shaped stilts in less than five minutes, about 20 times faster than existing miniature robots have been able to. This proof-of-concept demonstration, say the researchers, suggests that one day they may be used in 'micro factories' that build microscale devices.

The NTU team is now looking to make their robots even smaller, on the scale of a few hundred micrometres, and to ultimately make the robots fully autonomous in terms of control.
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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Major study set to compare the use of surgical robots and standard methods in knee replacement

6/29/21 ... ement.aspx

A major national study will pitch human skill against machine precision as it compares the benefits of knee replacement surgery performed using a robot to a surgeon using traditional methods.

Knee replacements are now very common operations; over 100,000 procedures are performed each year in the UK. The RACER (Robotic Arthroplasty: a Clinical and cost Effectiveness Randomized controlled trial) study is set to compare the use of surgical robots to standard instruments in an effort to determine which of the two techniques is best at improving patient outcomes and reducing pain following surgery.

The study will be jointly run between University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH) in Birmingham.

The £1.6 million randomized controlled trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) - the research partner of the NHS, public health and social care. With equal numbers of participants in each treatment group, a balanced and fair comparison can be made to find out which surgical technique results in better outcomes. This will include asking questions about people's ability to do activities and their quality of life in the long-term and will also find out which method provides the best value for the NHS.

The surgeon performs the operation for both options in the study. They normally use instruments that provide pre-set angles to help them do the operation, but some surgeons have started using a robotic arm attached to a computer with a pre-prepared map of the leg to guide them.

Surgical robots are favored by some for their precision and guidance, while standard instruments are preferred by others for their simplicity and ability to make greater of use of surgeons' skills and experience, without the added expense.

The team will invite patients to take part from six NHS hospitals across England and Scotland over the coming months. The company that makes the robot, Stryker, will be supporting the study with costs to ensure hospitals do not have to pay extra to take part.

The study is being led by two surgeons, Mr Andy Metcalfe, from UHCW and Warwick Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Warwick, and Professor Ed Davis, from ROH.

Mr Metcalfe said: "Can robots help surgeons perform knee replacements better? This is a really important question and we're delighted that the NIHR has agreed to support the study.

"Surgeons are always working to improve the care we give and we're seeing more robots in surgery now. This study is about whether using a robot gives better results for patients having knee replacements and we're looking forward to being able to answer that.

"It is a big achievement for the team to be at the forefront of a world-leading multi-centre study like this, it is probably one of the most important questions in orthopedic surgery right now. We're really pleased to be able to get started."

" We are excited to begin this incredibly significant study. It will help orthopedic surgeons across the world to better understand the most effective tools and techniques when performing knee replacements. It will also help us to ensure patients enjoy the very best outcomes.

The team have all worked incredibly hard during the pandemic to ensure this trial is safe and of the highest quality. We are all very keen to evaluate the evidence and share it as widely as possible."

- Professor Ed Davis, Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH), Birmingham

Although the trial opened at the end of December 2020, activity was delayed by the Covid-19 response, when most orthopedic services were paused. Some hospitals are now seeing patients again and the study is now accepting patients into its first sites.

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, London, are already open for recruitment, with a number of other hospitals across the UK (including the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust, and Portsmouth NHS Hospitals) expected to open soon.


University of Warwick
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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Smart robot can lend hospitals a big hand

7/26/21 ... s-big.html

Recently, researchers from the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a smart functional robot that realized simultaneous disinfection of both air and object surface.

The key credits go to dry frog hydrogen peroxide and Ultraviolet C radiation, which work together for highly effective and simultaneous disinfection.

Besides, compared with other disinfection robots, this novel technology can automatically identify the disinfection object and control the positioning of the manipulator according to the user's needs, so as to achieve fixed-point and accurate disinfection. Therefore, the robot is applicable in many medical environments, like Intensive Care Medicine (ICU), Disinfection Supply Center and Static Delivery Center, etc.

To protect disinfection personnel from risky environment, the researchers used teleoperation and deep learning technology to ensure the robot under a smart operation that it can identify targets itself and then to put its arm at a right place for accurate disinfection.

Moreover, they wanted their robot applicable in more operational environment, so they installed it with Mecanum wheel that has advantages of omni-directional movement and zero turning radius and even with the load capacity of more than 300 kilograms.

For much safer use, different from other robots, wireless charging technology gets this smart robot charged in a new and safer way even without precise docking.

Afterwards, the team continues their work in smart hospital technology and is planning to push it further by developing a series of smart robots for medical material delivering, auxiliary supply distribution, and intelligent sputum suction in open artificial airway.

Explore further :

Disinfection robot: Value created by linking up to building data ... nking.html
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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Tiny 'maniac' robots could deliver drugs directly to central nervous system

8/10/21 ... ntral.html

Would you let a tiny MANiAC travel around your nervous system to treat you with drugs? You may be inclined to say no, but in the future, "magnetically aligned nanorods in alginate capsules" (MANiACs) may be part of an advanced arsenal of drug delivery technologies at doctors' disposal. A recent study in Frontiers in Robotics and AI is the first to investigate how such tiny robots might perform as drug delivery vehicles in neural tissue. The study finds that when controlled using a magnetic field, the tiny tumbling soft robots can move against fluid flow, climb slopes and move about neural tissues, such as the spinal cord, and deposit substances at precise locations.

Diseases in the central nervous system can be difficult to treat. "Delivering drugs orally or intravenously, for example, to target cancers or neurologic diseases, may affect regions of the body and nervous system that are unrelated to the disease," explained Lamar Mair of Weinberg Medical Physics, a medical device company based in the US and an industrial partner on the study. "Targeted drug delivery may lead to improved efficacy and reduced side-effects due to lower off-target dosing."

Targeted drug delivery with tiny robots

One way to achieve targeted dosing is to use tiny robots to deliver drugs to specific locations. While this technology is still in its infancy, researchers have developed various types of micro- or millirobots that could fulfil this ostensibly far-fetched goal. However, the major problem lies in controlling their activity as they travel through tissues in the body, and few researchers have put their tumbling robots to the challenge by seeing how they handle moving across real tissues.

Magnetic fields are a particularly promising way to control things inside the body, as they are not influenced by tissues and tend to be very safe. This is the power behind the MANiACs, which are tiny tumbling robots containing magnetic nanorods encased in a soft spherical shell. These properties should allow them to safely tumble through the body in response to a magnetic field applied externally, with the goal of drawing them to a target site for drug delivery.

The research team behind the current study wanted to test their MANiAC soft robots under conditions they may experience in the body. These include the undulating and tortuous architecture of the nervous system, which includes flowing cerebral spinal fluid and steep slopes.

The researchers tested the ability of the MANiACs to climb slopes with increasing steepness and move against flowing liquid. They also obtained rat brains and mouse spinal cords to test the robots' ability to move along the tissues and deposit a dye on their surfaces, as a substitute for a drug.

Good climbers

Under magnetic stimulation, the MANiACs successfully scaled slopes as steep as 45 degrees and moved upstream against a fluid flow that was similar to what they would encounter in the nervous system. The researchers were able to maneuver dye-loaded MANiACs around on the surface of rodent neural tissues with a fine degree of control, and successfully deposited the dye in specific locations. They even re-dosed several locations to increase the amount of 'drug' dosed to that region.

"The ability to go back and re-dose regions which received insufficient dose upon initial treatment is significant," said Prof David Cappelleri of Purdue University, another researcher involved in the study. "These results are very preliminary and highly experimental, but we think we have demonstrated strong evidence that small, soft, capsule-based microrobots have potential for controlled local delivery in neural diseases."

More information: Lamar O. Mair et al, Soft Capsule Magnetic Millirobots for Region-Specific Drug Delivery in the Central Nervous System, Frontiers in Robotics and AI (2021). DOI: 10.3389/frobt.2021.702566
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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Your Guide to Robotics
Everything you need to know about robots

by: Hayden Field ... 69711fc5cf

Humans have been fascinated with robots since we knew they were possible—for proof, just look at the past hundred-odd years of movie and TV blockbusters.

You could say it all started with Houdini’s 1919 silent film, The Master Mystery, which is credited as one of the first robot depictions in cinema. Since then, we’ve had The Terminator, Blade Runner, Wall-E, RoboCop, Transformers, Westworld…even The Stepford Wives. And although the current reality of robotics is less fantastical than the silver-screen portrayals, the technology—and its industrial applications—have advanced significantly in recent years. The market size has, too.

The global robotics market was worth about $49.9 billion in 2020, according to a Research and Markets report, and in five years, it’s projected to surpass $60 billion.

Just like with artificial intelligence, experts disagree on how to expressly define a robot. There’s no ironclad set of characteristics, but there are generally accepted guidelines: A robot is a programmed, automated, or autonomous device that can perform certain tasks with some degree of intelligence—and, on some level, understands both its environment and how to manipulate it.

“Robots are limited…They can’t do many of the things that we can do, but there’s a few key ways in which they are superior to humans,” Clara Vu, cofounder and CTO of Veo Robotics, a Massachusetts–based robotics and sensor system startup, told us. “Because they’re not limited by our physical bodies, they can be stronger, they can be faster, and they can be more repeatable. So tasks where strength and speed and precision and repeatability are really critical are really good tasks for robots.”

So let’s get those gears turning. In this guide, we’ll look at where robotics has been, how it works, and where it’s going. We’re focusing mainly on physical robots here, rather than robotic process automation and “robotic software” technologies, and we’re adding autonomous vehicles into the mix as well. You’ll leave knowing what differentiates the main categories of robots, how Covid-19 impacted demand, and how the tech fits into industries from retail and delivery to automotive and defense. We’ll take you through the mechanics of it all.
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