Engineers at Stanford University have created a tiny medical device that can travel through the blood stream without any help of wires or batteries.
The device has been developed by Ada Poon, who is an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, and makes use of magnetic currents to travel through the blood stream. The device picks up signals emitted by a radio transmitter outside the body and utilizes it to regain any lost power.
Presenting the device at the International Solide-State Circuits Conference this week, Poon said that she has developed two types of devices, one which makes use of electric currents to travel through the body and moves at a speed of one half-centimeter per second. The second device travels in a way similar to a kayak paddling upstream by switching the currents back and forth through a type of wire loop.
Poon acknowledged that she is yet to identify how exactly the device can be used to provide medical treatment. "There is considerable room for improvement and much work remains before such devices are ready for medical applications. But for the first time in decades the possibility seems closer than ever", she said.