Ben Evans co-authors article on soft magnetic microrobots for manipulation of biological materials

The untethered tumbling devices are biocompatible and can be directed with magnetic fields to transport a payload or release pharmaceuticals.

Ben Evans, associate professor of physics, has co-authored an article about using magnetic microrobots to manipulate biological materials. 

The work was published March 31 in the journal Micromachines in collaboration with an interdisciplinary group of researchers from Weinberg Medical Physics, Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering, and The Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Engineering.

ABSTRACT: Soft, untethered microrobots composed of biocompatible materials for completing micromanipulation and drug delivery tasks in lab-on-a-chip and medical scenarios are currently being developed. Alginate holds significant potential in medical microrobotics due to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, and drug encapsulation capabilities. Here, we describe the synthesis of MANiACs- Magnetically Aligned Nanorods in Alginate Capsules – for use as untethered microrobotic surface tumblers, demonstrating magnetically guided lateral tumbling via rotating magnetic fields. MANiAC translation is demonstrated on tissue surfaces as well as inclined slopes. These alginate microrobots are capable of manipulating objects over millimeter-scale distances. Finally, we demonstrate payload release capabilities of MANiACs during translational tumbling motion.

Micromachines, 10(4), 230;