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Int J Rob Res. 2009 Apr 1;28(4):571-582.

Flagellated Magnetotactic Bacteria as Controlled MRI-trackable Propulsion and Steering Systems for Medical Nanorobots Operating in the Human Microvasculature.

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NanoRobotics Laboratory, Department of Computer and Software Engineering, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal (EPM), Campus of the Université de Montréal, P.O. Box 6079, Station Centre-ville, Montréal (Québec), Canada H3C 3A7.


Although nanorobots may play critical roles for many applications in the human body such as targeting tumoral lesions for therapeutic purposes, miniaturization of the power source with an effective onboard controllable propulsion and steering system have prevented the implementation of such mobile robots. Here, we show that the flagellated nanomotors combined with the nanometer-sized magnetosomes of a single Magnetotactic Bacterium (MTB) can be used as an effective integrated propulsion and steering system for devices such as nanorobots designed for targeting locations only accessible through the smallest capillaries in humans while being visible for tracking and monitoring purposes using modern medical imaging modalities such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Through directional and magnetic field intensities, the displacement speeds, directions, and behaviors of swarms of these bacterial actuators can be controlled from an external computer.

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