A Nanorobotics professor at Carnegie Mellon has created a little pill-sized robot that he says can travel safely through the gut and snap good pictures along the way. The problem in the past has been that the adhesive required to stick a camera to an intestinal wall (or whatever) has been permanent. Meaning you’d have to rip out a piece if you wanted to remove the camera. So if you need extended observation of, say, a polyp up there, you had to agree to either supergluing something to your intestines or having a camera on a wire snaking its way through you. Not the easiest choice.
So this new adhesive can be easily detached from tissue, and so the bot’s position can be controlled by extending or retracting its sticky little arms. Good news for anyone with tract issues. The researcher, Martin Sitti, says he was inspired by gecko feet; that’s a nice thought, a robot gecko climbing through your innermost tubes.