Abstracts in this Pattern:
Origami—the traditional Japanese art of paper folding—enables the creation of complex structures and designs through the folding of simple materials. The ability to fold medical devices into compact shapes would enable the devices to travel through the body easily while maintaining their functionality.
University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia) graduate student Austin Taylor and colleagues are developing a novel cardiac catheter. A folding device on the tip of the catheter contains both a tool for cauterizing heart tissue and the wire coils necessary for magnetic-resonance imaging. Taylor chose a pinwheel-like shape for the device, which enables it to fold into a size small enough to navigate a patient's blood vessels. Once doctors position the device inside a patient's heart, the device unfolds to enable ablation and high-quality imaging of the heart.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, Massachusetts), the University of Sheffield (Sheffield, England), and the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo, Japan) developed an ingestible origami robot. The researchers gave the robot accordion folds to enable it to move using stick-slip motion—a type of locomotion in which the robot's appendages use friction to stick to a surface but slip free when the robot's body changes its weight distribution by flexing. Researchers control this motion using an external magnetic field that acts on a magnet in the robot. Because the robot folds, the researchers can encapsulate it in an easy-to-swallow pill. The team believes the robot could remove button batteries from the stomach after people accidentally swallow them.
Researchers are also applying folding techniques at the nanoscale. For example, DNA origami is a technique in which researchers fold strands of DNA to create custom nanostructures of nearly any shape. Because manually manipulating DNA to create nanostructures is a complicated and labor-intensive process, few researchers possess the knowledge and experience necessary to use the technique; however, researchers from MIT and other institutions recently developed an algorithm that automatically determines the proper DNA sequence for a nanostructure on the basis of the nanostructure's desired 3D geometry. By simplifying this complex process, the algorithm will enable more researchers to work with DNA origami and should speed the development of nanostructures for use in applications in fields as diverse as vaccinology and genetic engineering.
The Development of this Pattern
A University of Georgia graduate student and colleagues are developing a novel cardiac catheter. A folding device on the tip of the catheter contains both a tool for cauterizing heart tissue and the wire coils necessary for magnetic-resonance imaging.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology developed an ingestible origami robot.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions recently developed an algorithm that automatically determines the proper DNA sequence for a nanostructure on the basis of the nanostructure's desired 3D geometry.
Researchers are applying folding techniques in a variety of medical applications.
- SoC691 — Origami Engineering (November 2013)
Programmable matter can adjust its physical properties when it is exposed to external input or even when it autonomously senses changing conditions.
- P0611 — Medication in Transition (March 2014)
Advanced methods of administering and distributing medication are emerging; nanotechnology plays a role in many of these new approaches.
- P0707 — Inner Visions (November 2014)
Health-care approaches and devices for diagnosing and treating medical conditions are looking ever deeper into the human body.
- SoC770 — Implantable Health-Care Devices (December 2014)
Implantable sensors that enable continuous, uninterrupted monitoring of data likely will play a more important role in the future.
- SoC771 — (P)Review 2014/2015: New Health Care (January 2015)
New concepts and a proliferation of wearable devices have laid the groundwork for a new understanding of health care and of how various types of medical care can integrate seamlessly into patients' everyday lives.
- P0872 — Attachable Health Care (January 2016)
Attachable and implantable devices could change the nature of health care by providing nonstationary options for continuous diagnostic testing and treatment.
- SoC872 — Brain Implants (May 2016)
Developments in algorithms and computer-modeling techniques are key enabling factors that will continue to extend the capabilities of brain implants.