Cell-sized robots for minimally invasive medical interventions and targeted delivery
Untethered mobile robots the size of a human cell can make a disruptive impact in medicine. Their small size and wireless mobility can enable access and navigation in small, confined, hard-to-reach, and sensitive inner body sites, such as the central nervous system, the circulatory system, and the fetus. At these locations, such tiny machines can provide new ways of minimally invasive surgical interventions, remain inside for long durations as semi-implantable devices, and deliver targeted diagnosis and therapy with high precision and repeatability. To achieve these goals, however, there are many scientific and technical challenges to overcome. In this talk, I will present design, fabrication and control of cell-sized mobile robots for medical applications. I will demonstrate that the realization of coupled sensing, response and motion, the pillars of a robotic system, requires new materials and fabrication routes that can produce highly integrated systems that successfully interact with the environment. I will explore alternative power sources that would realistically sustain robotic operations at the microscopic size scales. I will demonstrate medical microrobots with the capabilities of moving around, sensing, responding to the local pathological information, and performing specific diagnostic and therapeutic tasks as orderly executed operations using their smart composite material architectures. Upon completing their functions, most of the microrobots I have developed are enzymatically degradable at the physiological conditions. Given the progress and the status of this emerging field, I will finally be providing a translational perspective on medical microrobotics research with an application-oriented, integrative design approach where powering, materials, fabrication, control, localization and medical functionalities need to be considered altogether at the same time. I will discuss the complexity of the challenges ahead and the potential directions to overcome them.
About The Speaker
Hakan Ceylan is a senior research scientist at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, Germany, working on medical microrobots, bioinspired materials, molecular engineering, and intelligence at microscopic length scales. He received the BSc. degree in molecular biology and genetics (with high honor) and the Ph.D. degree in materials science and nanotechnology in 2010 and 2014, respectively, from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. Dr. Ceylan was a post-doctoral researcher during 2014-2017 at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. He has been an associate member of Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems since 2015, the first joint institute of Max Planck Society and ETH Zurich. Dr. Ceylan’s inventions have resulted in three patents pending and over twenty publications in the prestigious peer-reviewed journals. He has received several best paper, best talk and science-as-art awards as an extension of his research output. His studies has been publicized by Bayern2 radio, PC Magazine and a number of other printed and web-based German and international media. In 2019, PC Magazine featured Dr. Ceylan’s medical microrobot project among “5 amazing projects that will change the future of healthcare”.