MIT Robo-Thread Brain
Photo credit: MIT
Sometimes, it’s near impossible to operate on certain areas of the brain, but that has all changed, thanks to a team of MIT engineers. The researchers have developed a magnetically steerable, thread-like robot that can actively glide through narrow, winding pathways, like the brain’s labrynthine vasculature. When combined with existing endovascular technologies, this would allow doctors to remotely guide the robot through a patient’s brain vessels to quickly treat blockages and lesions that are commonly associated with aneurysms as well as stroke. Read more for a video and additional information.

This robotic thread is made from nickel-titanium alloy (nitinol), which is a material that is not only bendy, but springy as well. This means it can retain its shape when bent, so a nitinol wire would return to its original shape, resulting in more flexibility when winding through tight, tortuous vessels. The wire’s core was then coated in a rubbery paste, or ink, which was embedded throughout with magnetic particles.

LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor Building Set 51515; STEM Model Robot Toy for Creative Kids with Remote Control Model Robots; Inspiring Code and Control Edutainment Fun, New 2020 (949 Pieces)
  • With LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor (51515), kids gain essential STEM skills as they build, code and play with remote-control model robots and intelligent creations that shoot missiles, play ball, drive around and more!
  • With almost 1,000 pieces, including an intelligent Hub, 4 Medium Motors, Color Sensor and Distance Sensor with break-out interface, youngsters can also build their own fun robotic toys and share them online on LEGO Life
  • An easy-to-install rechargeable battery is included, so no need to go hunting for spare batteries when the fun’s about to start
  • Blast stands at over 14” (36cm) tall, while Gelo measures over 9” (24cm) long; The Powered Up components in this set are also compatible with the LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox (17101), Droid Commander (75253) and others

Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. If acute stroke can be treated within the first 90 minutes or so, patients’ survival rates could increase significantly. If we could design a device to reverse blood vessel blockage within this ‘golden hour,’ we could potentially avoid permanent brain damage. That’s our hope,” said Xuanhe Zhao, associate professor of mechanical engineering and of civil and environmental engineering at MIT.