Dr. Metin Sitti
Metin Sitti
Scientific Member (Director)
Phone: +49 711 689 3410
+49 711 689 3401
Fax: +49 711 689 3412
Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA

Dr. Hakan Ceylan
Hakan Ceylan

3D-microdevice for minimally invasive surgeries

Scientists take challenge of developing functional microdevices for direct access to the brain, spinal cord, eye and other delicate parts of human body

February 22, 2017

A tiny robot that gets into the human body through the simple medical injection and, passing healthy organs, finds and treats directly the goal – a non-operable tumor… Doesn’t it sound at least like science-fiction? To make it real, a growing number of researchers are now working towards this direction with the prospect of transforming many aspects of healthcare and bioengineering in the nearest future. What makes it not so easy are unique challenges pertaining to design, fabrication and encoding functionality in producing functional microdevices.

To make design work

Conventional microfabrication techniques can provide relatively simple geometric structures with limited design flexibility and function. These are so called “passive” systems, limited to a certain structure, such as tube or sphere, which plain fabric allows only restricted chemical functionality.

<p><strong>Figures 1 and 2</strong> <br /><strong>1 - Microswimmer CAD:</strong> Computer-aided design of a low-drag bullet-shape microswimmer with a programmed inner cavity <br /><strong>2 - Microswimmer Micrograph:</strong> Functional microswimmer moving in 5% hydrogen peroxide</p> Zoom Image

Figures 1 and 2
1 - Microswimmer CAD: Computer-aided design of a low-drag bullet-shape microswimmer with a programmed inner cavity
2 - Microswimmer Micrograph: Functional microswimmer moving in 5% hydrogen peroxide

To overcome these, Metin Sitti and his coworkers of the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have recently developed a new two-step approach to provide the devices with desirable functions.

The first step – creation of design entitled to make further elaboration of the microdevice – is realized by crosslinking light-responsive polymers. It is based on the 3D laser lithography technique and allows chemically homogenous base structures to be fabricated with high versatility (see Figure 1).  

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