Scientists have developed a tiny, ingestible 3D-printed snake-like robot called SAW (single actuator wave-like robot), that can navigate through the small intestines.
The snake-like tiny robot was made from a set of interlocking 3D-printed “plastic” pieces that look like vertebrae.
- The robot moves in a wave-like motion and can travel through the extremely squishy environment of the small intestine.
- The external shape of the robot is a 2D projection of a rotating helix, that result in a continuously moving wave. Its direction can be reversed simply by reversing the direction of rotation of the motor.
- In tests, the robot was able to move incredibly fast and cross a wide array of terrains, from water to rough, rocky soil.
- Potential application: It can be used to visualise the digestive system in real time, especially for colonoscopies.