Microbots Are Finally Here, And They Will Be Injected Into Your Body

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Technocrat advances in medicine are spectacular but the question must be asked: What are the dark uses of microbots for the human condition? This opens up a huge ethics discussions but Technocrats pay little attention to ethics. ⁃ TN Editor

Earlier this week, the robotics company Boston Dynamics released a clip of their BigDog model—a four-legged, gas-powered, mobile machine—dexterously opening a door for its buddy. In light of the recent Black Mirror episode “Metalhead,” which features a similar dogbot equipped with a deadly arsenal, it’s understandably chilling to behold Boston Dynamics’ creations and their impressive abilities.

But the collective freakout over the canine door openers overshadowed another robot video, dropped by Purdue University’s School of Mechanical Engineering on Tuesday, which might actually outcreep the Boston Dynamics clip.

In contrast to the BigDogs, Purdue’s “microscale magnetic tumbling robots,” or microTUMs, are extremely small, measuring about 400 by 800 microns—about the size of a grain of sand. Shaped like dumbbells, the tiny machines are outfitted with magnetic end caps, enabling them to “tumble” continuously over a variety of terrains, powered by a shifting magnetic field.

So in case you were wondering what’s more frightening than large robots that open doors, the answer is microbots that can tumble under them in swarms. Wherever you are, these little bots will be able to squeeze past most any barrier and traverse most any landscape to reach you (and yes, there is Black Mirror episode for that variety of nightmare too).

Your hackles might be raised even further once you learn that this Purdue study, led by graduate student Chenghao Bi and published in the journal Micromachines, proposes injecting these microTUMs into the human body.

“We envision these robots being injected into the patient inside the body, in complex sticky terrains like tissue,” said study co-author David Cappelleri, director of Purdue’s Multi-Scale Robotics and Automation Lab, in the video. “You could imagine these robots maybe being in the stomach somewhere [tumbling] to their goal location, where they need to be.”

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These microbots are yet another example of artificial complexity being foisted upon us. Why spend hundreds of millions to billions developing microbots and genetic engineering technologies for medical applications when we already have a beautiful system at the ready – our own stem cells. The results of autologous stem cell treatments on a wide variety of conditions have been nothing less than stunning, effectively treating autoimmune disorders, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, autism, diabetes, osteoarthritis, disc degeneration, deep flesh wounds (e.g. in diabetics facing amputation), and reversing paralysis in fairly recent spinal cord injuries, etc. With no deleterious side effects!… Read more »


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