Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Virtual 3D nanorobots used to develop real cancer-fighting technology

Image credit: Adriano Cavalcanti, et al.
The concept of "Nanorobots" or tiny “molecular machines” that can travel through our arteries to treat and diagnose our ailments has been the focus of many researchers over the past 10 years. While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done before the concept becomes reality. To try to pick up the pace, a group of researchers have recently developed an innovative approach to help in the research and development of nanorobots – 3D virtual reality.

Adriano Cavalcanti, Bijan Shirinzadeh, Robert Freitas, Jr., and Tad Hogg, representing institutions in Melbourne, Australia, and the U.S., have published their simulation procedure in a recent issue of Nanotechnology. Just as 3D simulations previously helped engineers greatly accelerate developmental research in the semiconductor industry, Cavalcanti and colleagues hope that virtual nanorobots, virtual biomolecules and virtual arteries will accelerate the progress of nanorobot development.


The 3D virtual environment allows for testing many strategies that could speed up the development of nanorobot technology. As the testing is only a 3D simulation, a much more criteria can be tested faster and safer than in a live environment.

Researchers are currently using the 3D simulation for tests in laparoscopic surgery, diabetes, cancer, brain aneurysms, cardiology, military biohazard defense, and drug delivery. The development is highly collaborative, with advances depending on future improvements in nanoelectronics, new materials, and genomics research. envisions the day when instead of swallowing an aspirin, you will swallow a nanorobot that will travel through the bloodstream to diagnose and treat a headache.

No comments: