We are pleased to announce Professor Peer Fischer is one of the featured speakers of the Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics 2021 (#HSMR21).
Professor Fischer gave a talk on ‘Nanorobotic systems that penetrate tissues & organ phantoms for surgery’ followed by a Q&A session.
Micro-/nano-robots hold great potential in biomedical applications. It has been shown that untethered magnetic screw-shape drills can penetrate elastic tissue, such as bovine muscle, when they are large with a typical diameter of several millimeters and a length of several centimeters. For much more minimally-invasive procedures, it is beneficial to dramatically reduce the diameter, but this also reduces the available force. However, recently we could show that sub-micron scale-drills experience less resistance due to the porosity in biological tissues.
We have realized nanopropellers that, if functionalized with enzymes soften mucine, and if coated with an anti-adhesion layer they can propel through the vitreous of the eye. They can also be steered to a small region at the optic disc of the retina. This is an important first step to realize targeted delivery in denser tissues. Developing new micro and nanosystems for medical applications brings me to the challenge one encounters when testing new medical devices and procedures: The absence of realistic models. We have developed a full urinary tract phantom that shows high fidelity in medical imaging and that allows transurethral resection of the prostate or suturing by laparoscopy. The phantoms are ideal for the development and evaluation of robotic surgery systems (and surgeons), while ensuring the correct contrast in typical imaging modalities.