Nanorobots-very very small robots capable of performing a particular task. This is the common definition that first pops up in the mind when we hear the word. Let us see what nanorobots actually are, how they are made, and what wonders they can do:
What are nanorobots?
You must have heard about the microinjections, microsurgery etc. which are used in the medical field. A light microscope is used to see the object in the micro size range, where one micron is equal to one millionth of a meter (10-6), comparably, a nanorobot would be one billionth of a meter (10-9), even not observable under the light microscope. A nanorobot is comparable with the size of a large-sized virus. The aim of nanorobotics is to create nanosized structures capable of performing functions like sensing, communication, information processing and targeted delivery.
What are they made up of?
The material required to construct a nanorobot depends on the function we intend to perform. For instance, if you are looking for a nanorobot to respond to magnetic field than a magnetic material will be used, if light is the stimulus than it should be light emitting or light responsive, and if you want to interact with the acoustic fields the material should have enough of acoustic contrast. This may also comprise upon chemical compounds, enzymes, or modified microbes.
Role of nanorobots in medicine:
There are several applications of nanorobots in the field of medicine, although the field is still in its infancy and the scope is beyond limits, however, the research areas of focus and current applications of nanorobots are as follows:
The normal medicines follow the passive blood flow that fails if there is a clotting or hindrance at some spot. The active movement of nanorobots could carry medicines to a target area and hence leading to precision medication i.e., the right dose of medicine delivered to the right spot at the right time. Research is going on towards the development of DNA robots that carry drug to the tumor area, cuts the blood supply and prevents the tumor from growing.
Minimally invasive surgery:
The nanosized miniatures have enabled the surgeons to reach at the level of tissue or even cells for the purpose of therapeutics that was otherwise impossible. Nanosized blades are used for sophisticated surgical procedures such as to treat cataract, only a nanosized cut is created that heals quickly thus reducing the pain a patient normally has to bear. Carbon nanotubes are used a catheter to clear the blocked passage. Similarly, the nanorobots can be used to perform controlled surgeries of areas which could not be targeted otherwise. Carbon is a preferred material for such structure because of its inertness.
Nanorobots can be used to detoxify blood by capturing poisonous substance or pathogenic microorganisms. The self-propelled 3D printed microfish comprising upon polydiacetylene that have the ability to capture and eliminate the toxins. The ultrasound-controlled nanorobots can swim across the blood stream and bind the targeted toxins, the expulsion of these substances leads to detoxification of blood.
Cancer detection and therapeutics:
The treatment of cancer is highly dependent on the early detection of tumors.
The biosensing property of nanorobots, is used to detect associated biomarkers
when they are even in a minute quantity thus enabling the early detection.
Also, the adverse effects of traditional chemotherapy can be minimized by using
the targeted drug delivery by nanorobots. It also keeps the surrounding normal
cells and tissues from damage.