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Microswimmer could boost medicine


A new “swimming machine” could be used to deliver drugs to specific parts of the body, scientists have said.

By mimicking the wheel of a paddle-steamer the microscopic device would be able to move inside the body without using chemical propulsion or bending itself into different shapes.

The microswimmer, which has been developed at the University of Sheffield and the University of Barcelona, is the first device to use such technology.

The machine is built with two protein-coated magnetic beads of just one and three micrometres in diameter, but scientists believe it could be shrunk to an even smaller size to deliver drugs.

Ramin Golestanian, a physicist at the University of Sheffield, told New Scientist: “The machine is “like a unicycle wheel with the smaller bead acting as the pedal.

“Microscale and nanoscale hydrodynamics are not all that different.”

Copyright Press Association 2008

University of Sheffield

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