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Microscopic Medical Propeller Could Pioneer Medical Treatment Options

We’ve seen numerous advances in nanotech over the past year, and none perhaps affected society as much as the smart-watch – a long awaited device that science fiction fans have pined over for years. But, this is not the only big thing happening in nanotech. In fact, there are a host of new surprises, and while they may not be big in size, they have the potential to completely change our world.

While we tend to think of nanotech devices as making everyday objects smaller and smarter, there is another area where this technology is coming to the fore. Medical engineering is a field where nanotech could conceivably change everything – and it’s already starting to take place.

We’ve heard of several new devices over the past year that are designed to benefit human kind, prolong lives and make our health better, but there is a new discovery that could really have an impact on how doctors make patients well. In the past, implantable medical devices by necessity were stagnant – they had no way to move through the body.

Thanks to a team of researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, and the Institute for Physical Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, there may soon be a way to propel these life-saving devices throughout the entire body.

This team was able to create a tiny propeller that successfully moved through water. The propeller is made of silica and nickel, and the filament used to create it is only 70 nanometers in diameter. The entire propeller is 400 nanometers long. Further tests were conducted using hyaluronan, a fluid found in human joints as well as in eyes.

For example, a new device could be created that could moved to the precise point inside the human eye to the retina, to help reattach or fix any damage to that delicate membrane. The team found that they could, “actually display significantly enhanced propulsion velocities, exceeding the highest speeds measured in glycerin as compared with micro-propellers, which show very low or negligible propulsion,” said study co-author Associate Professor Alex Leshanksy of the Technion Faculty of Chemical Engineering.

This new advancement shows just how much opportunity there is for engineers to create life-saving advances that could have an amazing impact on society as a whole. For new engineering students, advances like these underscore just what they are setting out to learn and for current engineers, projects like this serve to inspire further innovations.

Want more information about exciting careers in medical engineering? Ask the pros at Solopoint Solutions for help today!