Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have created a magnetic slime robot that can enter the human body to perform certain tasks, such as picking up objects that have been accidentally swallowed. Scientists envision that the sticky robot could be particularly beneficial to the digestive system, such as reducing damage from a small battery that was swallowed.
The magnetic slime robot can move inside the body by means of magnets, surround and capture swallowed C or O objects, and it can also perform other tasks such as attaching electrodes.
Professor Li Zhang, who is responsible for this invention, said that this slime robot currently lacks the ability to work alone, and scientists still have to understand its physical properties to be able to use it as a robot.
The professor explained that the magnetic slime robot is made of a mixture of a polymer called polyvinyl alcohol, borax, which is widely used in cleaning products, and neodymium magnet particles.
The magnetic slime robot has both sticky and elastic properties, which means that it sometimes behaves like a solid substance (when touched very quickly), and sometimes it behaves like a liquid (when touched gently and slowly).
The researchers covered the robot’s slime body with a layer of silica to form a protective layer of magnetic particles that are toxic to the body. Zhang stressed that safety from any harm caused by these molecules depends on how long the body will keep the robot.