Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University developed the new microgrippers, which helps in obtaining clinical biopsies from difficult to reach spots.
The star-shaped microdevices are made from a combination of soft hydrogels and a stiff biodegradable polymer, allowing them to fold in on themselves and grab onto cells.
The technology may one day be used not only for performing challenging biopsies, but also for targeted drug delivery and even for interventional surgical procedures.
The micro grippers take advantage of hydrogels' ability to change shape in response to light, acidity, or temperature variations.
The embedded polymer provides the strength necessary to grab onto target tissue and to take a bite.
The device has a navigation system that have magnetic nanoparticles dispersed within their structure that allow external magnets to guide the microgrippers on their way to their target.