It’s not as weird or painful as it sounds!
Did you ever watch the movie Innerspace? It’s not a great movie, but it stars Dennis Quaid, Martin Short and Meg Ryan as explorers who are miniaturized in order to explore the inside of a real, living human body. Of course, things go awry and the experiment doesn’t go as planned and instead of exploring the intended person, the crew of this small ship is injected into a hypochondriac who is trying to find out why he never feels very healthy. I won’t spoil the movie in case you haven’t seen it, but suffice it to say that the idea of tiny robots (or in this case, people on a ship) exploring the inside of the human body has always been the stuff of science fiction.
That is, until the invention of nano-technology.
A couple of years ago, scientists at The University of California successfully injected nano-robots or nanites, into a mouse with the intention of dispersing medicines to affected areas. These areas of the body are hard to reach and to inject a large amount of medicine into the mouse’s body with the hope of curing it was risky at best. In this way, scientists could offer a targeted solution that would cure only the affected area and leave the remaining body unharmed and undisturbed.
The process by how they achieved this is fascinating. The nano-robots are about 20 micrometers long—that’s about the same size as a strand of human hair. The robots were then filled with medicine and coated with zinc. Why zinc? Well, it turns out that when zinc reacts with stomach acid, it propels the nano-robot into the affected area without having to attach a motor or any other type of propulsion, thus allowing them to create a truly miniature robot.
While the application of this technology is years away from regular human use, many researchers and scientists are looking at this as the wave of the future in medicine. Nano-robots that are inside your body could repair damaged cells, detect diseases or other issues and in general, help humans live longer and be healthier.
Personally, I want a nano-robot that kills fat cells from the inside. That’s got to be a thing, right?