Think brain-computer interface is mind-blowing? Dive deep into the world of microbot technology. 

To enable versatile mobility inside a living organism of moving tissues and cells, these tiny robots are actually made of algae, the spirulina platensis used as a dietary supplement. The lead of a research team, Li Zhang from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has discovered how these can potentially be life-changing, literally.

Cancer Killing Magnetic Micro-Armor

Coating these spiral spring-shaped algae with iron oxide nanoparticles allows them to be guided to their target by magnetic fields from a doctor’s device. With this magnetic micro-armor they actually destroy 90% of tumor cells they contacted for 48 hours in a petri dish experiment. Depending on how thick this iron oxide coating determines how long these algae will survive in our body before biodegrading, ranging from hours to days.

Doctors can monitor them by seeing their fluorescence or using a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging tool for when the algae travel deeper into the body’s tissues. So these little guys broaden the possibilities of healing methods for the doctors of the future.

Distant Future?

Joseph Wang, nanoengineer developing other microbots said, “It’s still not ready for a doctor to use.” He thinks it will take another 10 years before it will be in doctors’ hands.

Ray Kurzweil, Google chief engineer expects such nanobots will start being used by 2030. It seems the challenges are the technical difficulties of powering and controlling these super tiny devices as they interact with the living bio-computer that is the human body. Differentiating the signals and traversing the every-changing interior landscape at the cellular level is no easy task.

As always, beware the dangers of such invasive technologies that can be controlled remotely and may have unintended consequences. Coupled with Artificial Intelligence could compound the issue beyond our control.

Instead of spending millions on artificial tiny robots to search and destroy negative cells in our bodies, why not embrace the natural remedies that purify and strengthen our body’s functions and defenses? Perhaps there’s a far simpler and more effective solution, like with the example of the United States developing a pen that can write in space’s zero gravity, while Russian astronauts used a pencil instead.