'Living' Micro-Robot Will Detect Human Disease

A robot designed to mimic the biology of a lamprey may soon be swimming through your body, with the capacity to detect the presence of diseases better than your immune system.

What's the Latest Development?


British and American scientists are working to build a tiny robot that mimics the biology of a sea lamprey, found mainly in the Atlantic Ocean. Dubbed 'Cyberplasm', scientist want the machine to "have an electronic nervous system and 'eye' and 'nose' sensors derived from mammalian cells, as well as artificial muscles that use glucose as an energy source to propel it." Initially, the size of the robot will be less than 1cm in length but scientists want to reduce the size to less than 1mm, perhaps making it  nano-sized as technology advances. 

What's the Big Idea?

Biomimicry, though complex, would produce machines as well suited to their environment as animalsno small achievement when it comes to understanding our world. "Nothing matches a living creature’s natural ability to see and smell its environment and therefore to collect data on what’s going on around it," said bioengineer Dr. Daniel Frankel of Newcastle University, who is leading the UK-based work. Applications for the technology include swimming through the body to detect disease or advancing prostheses by developing artificial muscle tissue which responds realistically to its environment.  

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


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Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."

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People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
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Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

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Two space agencies plan missions to deflect an asteroid.

ESA's Hera mission above asteroid 65803 Didymos. Credit: ESA/ScienceOffice.org
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