Analysing Potential Uses Of Nanorobotics Biology Essay


This article discusses medical nanorobotics, nanorobots, and some possible potential applications of nanorobots in medical diagnosis. Also discussed is a model for innovative nanorobot architecture based on nanobioelectronics, wireless communication, remote power transmission, data transmission, and nanosensors; which can be used for diabetes monitoring. A cell phone can be used to activate or inactivate nanorobots by transmitting RF signals, and to collect blood glucose information which can then be sent to a doctor for review, thus helping a patient to avoid hyperglycaemia.

1. Introduction

A technology used to make robots/machines with dimensions as small as a few nanometres or less (where 1 nm = meter), performing specific or repeated task is known as nanorobotics. A nanorobot is a mechanical or electromechanical device with a dimension of a few nanometres (). A nanite is an artificially fabricated object which is able to move freely within the human body, especially within blood vessels, and interacts with specific cells at the molecular level.

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These nano devices with a diameter of between 0.5 and 3 microns have constituent parts with a dimension in the range of 1 to100 nanometres. Carbon is the main element in the form of diamond or fullerene or a composite of the two due to the strength and chemical inertness of this form. Nanorobots can maintain and shield the human body against pathogens. In order to avoid attacks by the host's immune system the exterior of the nanorobot is coated in passive diamond. There are various options for powering the nanorobots, which include metabolizing the local glucose oxygen for energy or by harnessing externally supplied acoustic or body energy. They will be able to perform around 1000 or fewer computations per second using their simple onboard computer. Communication with the device can be achieved by broadcast type acoustic signalling. Once their task has been completed, they can be retrieved by allowing them to effuse via usual human excretory channels. Alternatively, they may also be removed by active scavenger systems, depending on design.

Nanorobots can function at atomic or molecular level to build devices, machine or circuits and can also self replicate i.e. can produce copies of themselves in order to replace weary units. Because of this molecular level capability, the nanorobots can build or destroy particle by particle.

Researchers in medical sciences are working hard to make medical nanorobots which can perform any sort of task in the medical domain ranging from delivering drug curing disease, fighting against cancer cells, diagnosis and repair of damaged tissue; unblocking arteries affected by plaque and potentially construct replacement body organs.

To date no developed nanoscale robots have been utilised within real world applications. However, scientists are working hard to develop a system for constructing these tiny helpers, which may result in using nanorobots for treatment within 25 years.

2. Nanorobot for treatment of various medical problems

Nanorobots, will be the next new wonder in human history once born. If they are designed in such a way that they will always used in a positive and ethical manner this will be a significant scientific achievement, This ethical desire is partially inspired by the design and application of medical nanorobots. This will cure human diseases, keep human beings healthy by protecting them from pathogens. Below are some possible medical applications using nanorobots. 31 32

2.1 Fighting cancer

Nanorobots will treat cancer patients by identifying the cancerous cells and then destroying them by either attacking tumours directly using lasers; microwaves or ultrasonic signals, or they could be part of a chemotherapy treatment, delivering medication directly to the cancer site. This will minimize side effects that are currently experienced by cancer patients that receive chemotherapy treatment without reducing the effectiveness of the treatment. 31 32

2.2 Targeted drug delivery

Another valuable application of nanorobotics could be targeted drug delivery. These nanorobots, known as Pharmacytes, can identify problematic cells, bacteria or viruses and will carry and deliver drugs to the identified cells bacteria or viruses. 31 32

2.3 Treating arteriosclerosis

Over time plaque can build up along the walls of arteries, which then narrow and the flow of blood decreases due to this restriction. Nanorobots can treat this by removing the plaque from the walls of the arteries. 31

2.4 Breaking up blood clots

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Blood clots are a complication that can result in costing muscle death or even stroke. Nanorobots travel to the affected area and break it up the blockage but the challenge is that the robot must be so accurate when removing the blockage to ensure that small pieces of the blockage are not deposited into the bloodstream, otherwise these small pieces travel elsewhere in the body and cause more problems and the robot must be small enough so that itself doesn't become an obstacle to the flow of blood.31

2.5 Mouthwash

A mouthwash full of smart nanomachines that have a short lifetime, able to swim while suspended in liquid and capable of reach surfaces beyond reach of toothbrush bristles or the fibres of floss, identify and destroy pathogenic bacteria, also lift particles of food, plaque or tartar from teeth to be rinsed away and at the same time leave the harmless flora of the mouth to flourish in a healthy ecosystem. 31

2.6 Monitoring & controlling

Monitoring will be another application of nanorobot. A team of nanorobots will patrol in human body, will be monitoring and controlling nutrient concentrations in the human body or glucose levels in diabetic patients. 31

2.7 Parasite Removal

Another type of Nanorobots, fight against bacteria and small parasitic organisms, to carry out this parasite removal operation might take more than one nanorobots to work together. 31

2.8 Gout

People suffer from gout, severe pain in knees and ankles this due to kidneys failed to remove waste from the breakdown of fat from bloodstream, this waste crystallizes near the joints, and causes severe pain. Though not permanently reversible, but relief from this pain achievable by nanorobots who could break up the crystalline structures from joints. 31

2.9 Breaking up kidney stones

At present kidney stones are crashed using ultrasonic frequencies, A nanorobot carrying small laser, deliver directly to kidney stones could break it up small pieces ,pass out of body in urine and relief from pain. 31

2.10 Faster diagnosis

At present sometimes diagnosis is a lengthy and stressful process, need to sent sample for away for analysis, this could take several days perhaps weeks to produce results to arrive. Nanotechnology is enabling much faster and more precise diagnosis device requires tiny quantities of sample, often palm sized, called a 'lab-on-a-chip', and result will be produced instantaneously, by fast processing and analysing the sample. 31

3. Medical Nano robotics for diabetics Control

To control glucose level a diabetes patient must take blood samples several times a day, which is inconvenient and unpleasant, this can be avoid easily via constant glucose monitoring using nanorobotics through which the body sugar level can be observed. This will enable the doctor and specialist to provide real time health care. This diabetes monitoring system improves the patients awareness with regard to daily intake of proteins and calories -reduce the time spent suffering from hyperglycaemia.

Advancement in nano electronics, biochemistry and information technology are providing feasible development pathways which lead to creation of nanorobots. Medical nanorobots manufacturing should include embedded and integrated devices comprise of the main sensing, actuation, data transmission, remote control uploading and coupling power supply sub systems addressing the basics to biomedical equipments for control and operation.

Nano robots are considered a new possibility for the health sector to improve medical instrumentation, diagnosis and therapeutic treatments.

3.1. Manufacturing technology of Nano robot for diabetes monitoring

The manufacturing ability of nanorobots depend upon the current development and new methodologies in fabrication, computation, transducers, and manipulation. When monitoring patients some of the relevant parameters are different gradients on temperature, concentration of chemicals in the bloodstream, and electromagnetic signature. Use of deep ultraviolet lithography in CMOS VLSI design offers high precision and a commercial way for manufacturing early nanodevices and nanoelectronics systems. The further development in nanoelectronics should steer the pathway for the assembly processes needed to manufacture nanorobots, the joint use of nanophotonic, nanotubes, and new materials can even accelerate further the actual levels of resolution ranging from 248-nm to 157-nm devices.1 To validate designs and to achieve a successful implementation, the use of VHDL (very high speed integrated circuit hardware description language) has become the most common methodology used in the IC manufacturing industry.2

3.2. Chemical sensor/Nano sensor

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Throughout nanowires use as material in CMOS based sensor can reduce 60% cost of energy demand for data transfer and circuit operation.3 , this also provides circuits assembly and maximal efficiency for applications regarding chemical changes.4 and 5 Self-heating and thermal coupling for CMOS functionality can be reduced in sensors with suspended arrays of nanowires assembled into silicon circuits.6 Nanosensors are good for low energy consumption and high sensitivity.7 Passive and buried electrodes can be used to enable cross-section drive transistors for signal processing circuitry readout, the must be electrically isolated in order to prevent loss of processed signals.

Strained channel with relaxed SiGe (silicon-germanium) layer a new material can decrease self-heating and improve performance. Advance manufacturing techniques, SOI (silicon-on-insulator) has been used to assemble high-performance logic sub-90-nm circuits.8 Circuit design based on SOI structures approaches have been demonstrated successfully to solve problems with bipolar effect and hysteretic variations.9 CMOS devices of 90-nm and 45-nm, which are already feasible, represent step forward technology devices, and already being used in products.

3.3. Power supply

To ensure energy for keeping nanorobot in operation, the use of CMOS for active telemetry & power supply is the most secure and effective way. This technique is also appropriate for purposes like digital bit encoded data transfer from inside a human body10. Due to its resonant electric properties, circuits can operate as a chip by supplying electromagnetic energy at 1.7 mA at 3.3 V for power which allows the operation of many tasks with fewer or no losses during transmission.11 Approximately 1 μW received energy can be saved while the nanorobot stays in inactive modes, can be activate by signal patterns when ever require it to do so.

RF-based telemetry procedures have confirmed good results in patient monitoring and power transmission with the use of inductive coupling12 and 13 . For communication, approximately 1 mW is required sending RF signals. The nanorobots can perform precisely defined actions in the workspace, efficiently using available energy resources as necessary by connecting with power source devices.

Introducing the mobile phone, would be a practical way to achieve easy implementation of this architecture, control software for the communication and energy transfer protocols should be uploaded in the cell phone.

3.4. Data transmission

Integrated sensors is the best option for data transfer from and to in implanted devices. For diabetes monitoring application the use of RF, acoustic, light and chemical signals also may be considered for and data transmission.29

Chemical signalling is quite useful close by communication with other nanorobots for some teamwork coordination.30. Acoustic is good for longer distance communication & detection with low energy consumption as compared with light communication, which is good for faster rate communication but needs more energy consumption14 and 15, hence is not ideal for nanorobots.16. Work with RFID has developed an IC device for medicine.17 Most recently, the use of RFID for in vivo data collecting and transmission was successfully tested for electroencephalograms.18

Widely used mobile phones can be practical and useful as sensors for acquiring wireless data transmission from medical nanorobots implanted inside the patient's body. Such phones can use for monitoring predefined patterns in the treatment of diabetes, and likewise for many other health problems.19 To monitor glucose levels in patient's body, chemical Nanosensor must be embedded in the nanorobot.

Due to Medical safety requirements, frequency ranging from 1 to 20 MHz can be used for inside-body applications.20

3.5. Introduction of Nanorobots into the body

Based on the IEEE 802.15.4 protocol (ZigBee) 21 and 22, a cell phone can be used as a handheld wireless transmitter, which will allow data transmission and power supply for implanted devices.23 The nanorobots used for the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes should be carried out using an intravenous injection.24 As a result, the main transportation routes for nanorobots are blood vessels.

3.6. Cell phone as transmitter antenna

The cell phone works as a transmitter antenna operating at a frequency of 400 MHz for bandwidth transmission and communicating with the nanorobot. The nanorobot has a miniature loop antenna of a 50-Ω differential input resistance and a transmission bandwidth of 20 MHz. The wireless cell phone is embedded within cloth provided as a wearable aid or located within a distance of up to 1 meter of the patient. It serves as a data transfer carrier, this platform operating in a low rate (250 Kbps) to a wireless personal area network.25 30

The biosensor should be built as an embedded nanodevice, so it can integrate with the nanorobot with high sensitivity. Platinum nanoparticles with 5-nm diameter can serve as a glucose biochip, improving selectivity through enhanced catalytic surface area and enabling better mass transport characteristics for enzymatic reagent composition.26 The nanorobot features a size of 2 μm3, which permits it to operate freely in the bloodstream.27 Thus, considering the biosensor as part of the proposed design, it provides enough surface selectivity for hydrolyzed glucose proteins, which typically present dimensions of about 8 nm3.28

3.7. Removal from the body

After the defined lifetime of a nanorobot is complete, or if it is decided to terminate the treatment, an RF signal is sent to the nanorobot to start leaking concentrations of hyaluronidase30 This will remove glycocalyx layers to ensure biocompatibility, and activates the immune system to identify and eliminate nanorobots from inside the body.30 The diabetes patient has a 1-week break before the next nanorobot dosage injection. This break is considered to be the time for the body needs to cleanse itself from the previous nanorobot therapeutic injection.30

3.8. Advantages of Nanorobots

A patient with diabetes type 2 needs to provide blood glucose measurements on average three times per day. With the use of nanorobots, this can be reduced to once every 90 days. That means in a whole year a patient using the conventional system requires1100 skin pricks whereas using a nanorobot only 4 skin pricks would be required.30

3.9. The way nano robot programmed for collecting samples

The nanorobot is pre-programmed at hardware level to receive the cell phone's RF instruction to its glycemic management the sensor is activated to monitor the glucose concentration. According to a patients prescription this procedure repeats during regular intervals, and as much as necessary. The cell phone is loaded with instructions, regularly activating the nanorobot to measure the blood glucose level (BGLs) early in the morning before breakfast time. Levels are then measured again every 2 hours and after the planned lunchtime. The same procedures can be programmed for other meals throughout the day. Occasionally if the doctor asks for shorter intervals of time for measurement, such changes in interval of times can be updated in the cell phone for activating the nanorobot to perform the diabetes control on different schedules. If it is necessary the data reporting rates could be increased from 2-hour intervals up to continuous sampling to obtain sufficiently high-resolution temporal discrimination. Normally, every 2 hours the nanorobot keeps the sensor activated for 2 minutes and transmits the BGL measurements directly to the mobile phone. And then this record can be analysed by doctor and if necessary patients will be alerted for medication.30

4. Conclusion

In the future, a doctor may treat all diseases with a nanorobot the size of bacterium. This may bring happiness and improve the health and extend the life expectancy of human beings. The above discussion summarises that nanorobots may stay within the human body forever and can be instructed using RF signals from cell phones to remotely activate or inactivate the device. This is where the potential danger exists; scientists will need to work hard to design nanorobots that will not be harmful to mankind.