Scientists Introduce Newest Cyborg Sperm

By Camille H, Parent Herald December 13, 11:33 am

A team of scientists from Germany created the first ever biological robots powered by sperm, a new research confirms.

Researchers were able to trap single sperm cells inside metal nanotubes and remotely control their direction using magnets. The biological robots or biobots for short could be used in humans to deliver drugs to very specific parts of the body or to help fertilize an egg. Oliver Schmidt created the magnetic nanotubes that measures 50 microns long by five to eight mincrons in diameter and dropped these into a fluid that contained bull sperm. The tubes were designed to be narrower at one end and could be moved using a magnetic field to be able to trap the sperm and prevent it from escaping.

"The biggest challenge was to adjust the size of the micro tube to a diameter slightly larger than the sperm head by at the same time maintaining the mobility of the sperm tail," said Schmidt. A sperm-driven micro-bot could be used for magnetically guided transport and delivery purposes in biomedical application," he added. "Of course, the vision of using magnetically guided human sperms for assisted fertilization seems most compelling but is still far from being realized. Still, there is no reason why this technique should not work for human sperm cells as well."

Schmidt claims that the sperm cells were ideal option for this type of work as they are harmless to the body and do not require an external power source. "One possible way might therefore be to capture single sperm cells into vitro, transfer the sperm-driven robots into the uterus and guide them magnetically towards the egg cell location." A paper on Development of Sperm-Flagella Drive Micro-Bio-Bot has been published in the journal Advanced Materials

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