Swallow Something You Shouldn't Have? This Origami Robot Pill Can Retrieve It
"Mom, I swallowed a doll hand."
"That's OK, sweetie — this robot wrapped in pork casing will travel down your esophagus and into your stomach to safely push Barbie's hand through your body."
The future of kids swallowing weird shit got a lot brighter.
There is now an itty bitty origami robot that, when swallowed, can unfold itself from its capsule to perform specific tasks in the body, MIT News reported. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Sheffield and the Tokyo Institute of Technology see this ingestible robot as a non-surgical and non-invasive method to remove foreign objects, patch wounds and deliver medicine.
Say you accidentally swallow a battery (it's not uncommon; according to MIT, about 3,500 button batteries are swallowed each year in the United States alone). Rather than undergo surgery to have it removed, you can swallow a robot! That's fucking rad.
Here's how it works: The origami robot, made of dried pig intestine, is folded into an ice capsule that travels down the esophagus and into the stomach. The researchers created a synthetic stomach using a pig stomach, silicone rubber, and water and lemon juice to simulate the stomach acid, according to MIT News.
The ice then melts, allowing the robot to unfold. Currently, the robot is controlled by an external magnetic field, but researchers hope that in the future it will be able to control itself.
Once in the stomach, the robot is controlled to perform its specific task, so in the event that you swallow a battery, the robot will attach to it and then eliminate it through the digestive tract. This is a less invasive alternative to the current solution: surgery.
The little battery warrior hasn't been tested on humans yet, but it was successful in its mission to remove a battery from a synthetic stomach.
In the meantime, don't gobble down any AAAs.