There are 3,500 cases of children swallowing button reported yearly in the U.S. alone – a potentially debilitating and life-threatening hazard. Pill robots are seen as a viable, non-invasive option in severe cases, while opening up many other potential medical applications.
Packed into a pill-shaped container, the pill robot unfolds “origami fashion” after it is swallowed.
The origami robot is compressed inside an inch-long, 0.09-ounce pill, which dissolves in the stomach within a minute, and then expands to its full size.
The pill robot is untethered, and propels itself with a “stick-slip” motion, or is steered with magnetic fields near the patient to guide the robot inside system.
The robot is guided by a tiny magnet to remove foreign object from the stomach, or administer medication to treat internal wounds.
With material parts made from pig intestine – which is also used in sausage casings – the pill robot breaks down in the stomach like food.