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What is Nanobots & Its Biggest Contribution in The Medical Industry

Afraid of nanobots rising up and taking over the world? Don’t be, that only happens in movies. In the real world, there are types of robots that save the human race, nanorobots to be exact. Experts and professionals are continuously doing extensive research and advanced development in nanotechnology. Research in finding the best uses of nanorobots and nanomachines into the medical industry.

 

Nano robotics in biomedicine
©Photo by Wikipedia.org

In the field of medicine, there’s only a tiny room for error. To be more precise, everything has to be perfect. Of course, professional doctors are highly skilled and knowledgeable to do various surgeries and other treatments to patients. But there are some procedures that require extreme precision that even world-class doctors aren’t capable of doing.

Imagine a doctor pinpointing cancer cells, or a doctor eliminating the defected parts in someone’s DNA structure. Those are tasks that are almost impossible to do. But lucky for us, nanorobots and nanomachines exist in our world today. What it does is a guarantee to provide patients with the treatment they need. Hence, giving them a chance to live their lives better and longer.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look and have a further understanding of what nanobots truly are. We analyze thoroughly from its components, types, to their uses in the medical industry.

 

What Are Nanobots?

Wireless, batteryless implantable sensors
© Photo by berkeley.edu

Nanorobotics falls under the field of nanotechnology. They deal with the design and development of devices at an atomic, molecular or cellular level. These hypothetical nanorobots are superbly tiny, ranging from 0.1-10 micrometers, capable of traveling inside the human blood. In general, almost all nanorobots have specialized sensors that are able to target molecules. Therefore, it can be programmed to determine and treat targeted diseases. 

A nanorobot, also known as nanobot, nanomachines or nanomites, can be made out of different mechanical components. It can be gears or motors using a variety of elements like hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen, silicon and such. On the other hand, the exterior of a nanobot can be created using a diamondoid element due to its dormant characteristics, high thermal conductivity, and durability. They feature extremely smooth surfaces, lessening the possibilities of triggering the body’s immune system.

While an excellent property that nanorobots have is the ability to correlate to each other. Hence, developing a structure with decentralization. Another point is nanobots can do a self-replication process. In which they will create duplicates of themselves and replacing all the non-working units at the same time.

If you’re wondering if it’s possible to communicate with nanorobots, the answer is, yes. All it needs is by encoding messages to acoustic signals at a wave frequency ranging from 1-100 MHz. When the task is completed, these nanorobots can be retrieved through the usual human excretory channels or active scavenger systems can be used.

 

Components and Substructures of Nanorobots

In constructing nanorobots, there are two main approaches. They are the ‘Positional assembly’ and the ‘Self-assembly.’

In the self-assembly, the nanomachine’s robotic arm that’s used to pick and assemble the molecules are controlled manually by an operator while on the positional assembly, billion of molecules are put together and the nanobots can automatically assemble them into their natural configuration. 

Also, nanobots are provided with swarm intelligence for decentralization activity, a technique that was inspired by the behaviors of social animals like ants, bees, etc that can work collaboratively naturally. But in order for the nanobots to function perfectly, they must have these specific components and substructures:

 

Components of Nanorobots:

  • Power Supply
  • Fuel Buffer Tank
  • Sensors
  • Motors
  • Manipulators
  • Onboard Computers
  • Pumps
  • Pressure Tanks 
  • Structural Support

 

Substructures of Nanorobots:

  • Payload

    The section where the nanobot holds and releases a small dose of drug/medicine. 

  • Micro camera

    The nanorobot may include a miniature camera. The operator can steer the nanorobot when navigating through the body manually

  • Electrodes

    The electrode mounted on the nanorobot could form the battery using the electrolytes in the blood.

  • Lasers

    These lasers could burn the harmful material like arterial plaque, blood clots or cancer cells.

  • Ultrasonic signal generators

    Use when the nanorobots target and destroy kidney stones.

  • Swimming tail

    The nanorobot will need a means of propulsion to get into the body as they travel against the flow of blood in the body.

 

Types of Nanobots In The Medical Industry

According to Robert A. Freitas Jr., who has pioneered the study and communication of the benefits to be obtained from advanced nanorobotics and biotechnology, classified nanorobots into three types; Respirocytes, Microbivores, and Clottocytes. He is also responsible for the term “Nanomedicine” that is commonly used in the field of science today. Let’s check out how these three nanobots differ from one another. 

  • Respirocytes

nanobots respirocytes hold gases such as oxygen
© Photo by orionsarm.com
First up on our list is the Respirocytes and no, it’s not the Death Star from Star Wars. Respirocytes are the nanorobots that intend to act as artificial mechanical red blood cells. Its characteristics are the following. First, they are in a spherical blood-borne shape that has 1 micrometer in diameter. Second, it composes of a diamondoid 1000 atm pressure container, the exterior casing. Third, it has reversible molecule-selective pumps.
 
Respirocytes transport oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules throughout the body. Finally, the respirocyte is a construction of 18 billion atoms. All are accurately arranged in diamondoid pressure tanks. These tanks are capable of storing up to 3 billion oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules. Compared to natural red blood cells, the respirocyte would deliver 236 times more oxygen to the body tissues.
 
Gas concentration sensors and an onboard nanocomputer can control the respirocyte. Moreover, it manages the carbonic acidity. The stored gases will discharge from the tank in a controlled behavior into the molecular pumps. The respirocytes exchange gases via molecular rotors that have special tips for a particular type of molecule.
  • Microbivores

nanorobots Microbivores device
© Photo by foresight.org

Next on our list is the Microbivores. Unlike the Respirocytes, it is an artificial white blood cell that is also known as Nanorobotic Phagocytes.

Microbivores are the nanorobot. It functions as artificial white blood cells and also known as nanorobotic phagocytes. However, this particular nanobot is a spheroid device that consists of a diamond and sapphire. The Microbivers measures 3.4 micrometers in diameter along its major axis and 2.0 micrometers diameter along the minor axis. There are 610 billion of arranged structural atoms are inside the nanobot.

What it does is it traps in the pathogens existing in the bloodstream then breaks down into smaller molecules. While the Microbivore’s main purpose is to absorb and digest the pathogens in the bloodstream by using the process of phagocytosis. There are four fundamental components of microbivore:

  • An array of reversible binding sites
  • An array of telescoping grapples
  • Morcellation chamber
  • Digestion chamber

For only 30 seconds, an entire cycle of microbivore’s phagocytosis will complete. There are no possibilities of septic shock since it has internalized bacterial elements. Also, it digested into non-antigenic biomolecules. The microbivore is 1000 times quicker than antibiotic aided white blood cells. The pathogen also stands no chance of multiple drug resistance.

 

  • Clottocytes

Clottocytes in nanobots
© Photo by foresight.org

Taking the third and final spot on our list is the Clottocytes. These nanorobots described as artificial mechanical platelet, designed for Hemostasis. What’s Hemostasis, you say? Let us explain, Hemostasis is the process of blood clotting when there’s damage to the endothelium cells of blood vessels by platelets. These platelets will activate by the collision of exposed collagen from damaged blood vessels to the platelets. It will take around 2-5 minutes for the whole process of natural blood clotting.

Clottocytes, on the other hand, can complete the whole process in 1 second approximately. This nanorobot in spherical form is powered by serum-exyglucose. It is about 2 micrometers in diameter and it contains a fiber mesh that’s neatly folded inside. When released, the fiber mesh would be biodegradable, a film-like layer of the mesh would disappear in contact with the plasma to reveal the sticky mesh. When compared to the natural hemostatic system, Clottocytes are 100 times if not, 1000 times faster than natural healing.

 

Uses of Nanobots in The Medical Industry 

Tiny Conveyance Nanobots
© Photo by embs.org
  • Drug delivery

    Nanomites are specifically designed for drug transport called Pharmacytes. The dosage of the drug will load into the payload of the Pharmacyte. And they can precisely transport and target the drug to specific cellular points.

  • Body surveillance

    By using nanobots, the patient’s vitals can be continuously monitored. However, it will lead to a quantum leap in diagnostics.

  • Dentistry

    Dentifrobots are nanorobots that intend for dental treatment. These types of nanomachines can induce oral analgesia, desensitize teeth, manipulate the tissues. Besides, it also uses to realign and straighten irregular sets of teeth.

  • In surgery

    Nanobot is a program to be self-sufficient onsite surgeons inside the body. Plus, they can do multiple functions. These functions include detecting pathology, diagnosing, correcting lesions. Function coordinated By nano-manipulation by an on-board computer.

  • Cancer detection and treatment 

    Nanorobots are made with a mixture of a polymer. Its transferrin is capable of detecting tumor cells. They feature embedded chemical biosensors, primarily used for detecting tumors

  • Diagnosis and treatment of diabetes

    Nanobots carry out glucose molecules into the bloodstream. In order to maintain human metabolism. They use a Chemosensor in which they can modulate the hSGLT3 protein glucose-sensor activity.

  • Delicate surgeries

    Due to the fact that nanorobots can provide better access to the required area, thus it performs micro-surgeries. Moreover, it has extreme precision, they can perform certain surgeries that doctors are not capable of doing.

  • Gene therapy

    By medical nanomites, it can treat genetic diseases. Besides, this is by analyzing the molecular composition of DNA and proteins found in the cell. The best part, by using Chromallocytes it can perform Chromosome replacement therapy too.

 

Conclusion

If nanorobots are really the future of medicine, we are all ready for it. Their precise and efficient performance is definitely something we can rely on. The successful development of Nanobots can unveil new approaches to medical treatment. Hence, resulting in revolutionizing traditional medical treatment that is faster, concise & error-free treatment.

With the constant development and innovation of nanotechnology and nanomedicine, inevitably, more and more of these micrometer nanomachines be developed. Hence, treating more diseases and doing more surgeries, saving more patients in the years to come.

Racheal

Racheal

Racheal is a content writer and editor that go where the wind blows. Strangely her passion for technology has landed her here on this site. Now she's actively curating quality content from latest tech news, programming guides, gadgets reviews to robotics projects. If you don't see her here, she's probably geeking around the internet for some spicy content.

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