A BRAIN-boring robot that burrows its way through tissue in the same way a wasp digs through wood could make some surgeries safer.
Some female wood wasps use a needle-like ovipositor to deposit eggs inside pine trees. The ovipositor has two dovetailed shafts, each covered in backward-facing teeth. To bore into wood, the wasp quickly oscillates each of these backwards and forwards. As the shaft is pulled backwards, its sharp teeth catch in the wood’s tissue and prevent it from retreating. As a result with each oscillation the ovipositor takes a small step forward. The tension created by the gripping teeth braces the shaft and prevents the needle from buckling or even breaking.
Translation – It can insinuate itself into tissue with a minimum amount of force!
Unlike the existing rigid surgical probes, this device will be flexible enough to move along the safest possible route. For ex. bypassing high-risk areas of the brain during surgery. It could also reduce the number of incisions needed to deliver cancer therapies to different parts of a tumour.
What do you think about robots mimicing nature?