Birth of the Robo-Sperm

The biological robots - or biobots - could be used in the future to deliver drugs to a very specific parts of the body or to help fertilise an egg
Scientists create first cyborg sperm that can be remote-controlled using magnets: (1) Tiny magnetic nanotubes were dropped into a fluid containing bull sperm (2) Tubes trapped sperm allowing their direction to be magnetically controlled (3) In the future, spermbots could be used to deliver drugs to a very specific part of the body or to help fertilise an egg The first ever biological robots that are powered by sperm have been created by scientists in Germany. Researchers have managed to trap single sperm cells inside metal nanotubes and remotely control their direction using magnets The biological robots – or biobots - could be used in humans to deliver drugs to a very specific
Researchers have managed to trap single sperm cells inside metal nanotubes (in dark grey) and remotely control their direction using magnets
parts of the body or to help fertilise an egg. How were the sperm biobots created? The researchers created magnetic nanotubes that were 50 microns long by 5 to 8 microns in diameter and dropped these into a fluid containing bull sperm. To trap the sperm and stop them from escaping, the tubes were narrower at one end and could be moved using magnetic field. The tail-like part of the sperm cell pokes outside the end of the tube to power the biobot like a propeller. Up until now researchers had only managed to make groups of cells cooperate using various chemical and magnetic fields. ‘A sperm-driven micro-bio robot could be used for magnetically guided transport and delivery purposes in biomedical 
applications,’ said Professor Schmidt. ‘Of course, the vision of using magnetically guided human sperms for assisted fertilisation seems most compelling but is still far from being realised. ‘Still, there is no reason why this technique should not work for human sperm cells as well,' ‘One possible way might therefore be to capture single sperm cells in vitro, transfer the sperm-driven robots into the uterus and guide them magnetically towards the egg cell location.’ Professor Schmidt said that sperm cells were ideal option for this type of work as they are harmless to the body and do not require an external power source. A paper, named ‘Development of Sperm-Flagella Drive Micro-Bio-Robot’, can be found in the journal Advanced Materials. Source: Article

comments powered by Disqus