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June 4, 2014

Researchers develop sperm inspired robots

The micro-robots can be used for drug delivery, vitro fertilisation, cell sorting and cleaning of clogged arteries.

By CBR Staff Writer

Researchers at the University of Twente in Netherlands and the German University in Cairo have developed a microrobot inspired by sperm that can be controlled with magnets.

The micro-robots resemble a sperm cell with a magnetic head consisting of a 200?nm-thick cobalt-nickel layer, which can be controlled by oscillating weak magnetic fields.

According the researchers, the micro-robots can be used for drug delivery, vitro fertilisation, cell sorting and cleaning of clogged arteries.

The microrobots designed by Islam Khalil and Sarthak Misra and other researchers at MIRA-Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine at the University of Twente.

The finding has been published in Applied Physics Letters, in which the researchers are said to have steered the microrobots to a desired point with the control of magnets.

Dr Sarthak Misra, principal investigator in the study, and an associate professor at the University of Twente said: "Nature has designed efficient tools for locomotion at micro-scales."

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"Our microrobots are either inspired from nature or directly use living micro-organisms such as magnetotactic bacteria and sperm cells for complex micro-manipulation and targeted therapy tasks."

Dr Islam Khalil, an assistant professor of the German University in Cairo, said: "MagnetoSperm can be used to manipulate and assemble objects at these scales using an external source of magnetic field to control its motion."

The researchers are planning to make the MagnetoSperm even smaller and currently working on ways to create a magnetic nanofibre that can be used as a flagellum.

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