Medical micro-robots automatically change shape to swim through the body

But the new robots are also designed with a touch of autonomy in getting around – they change their shape based on their surroundings, folding and unfolding themselves into the most efficient shape for the job. For example, the team found that a tube-shaped body and a flat tail to paddle was the best design for swimming through a liquid with low viscosity, while a helix shape was better at getting through more viscous fluids. To let the robot make the transition between the two shapes by itself, the team designed it so it was triggered by a higher sucrose concentration.

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