Maggot Robot, in the Brain Matter

Brain surgery is one of the most dangerous operations that can be done on the human body, with its sensitivity. One of the issues surrounding this surgery is the risk of damaging living tissue while removing damaged tissue and tumors. And what did scientists do to try and fix the problem?

Build a maggot robot, of course.

What you’re looking at is a robotic maggot called the Minimally Invasive Neurosurgical Intracranial Robot (MINIR) designed by a team of three researchers from the University of Maryland. So why maggots, you might ask. Well, maggots are small and only consume dead flesh. In some cases, live maggots are put into a wound to remove only the damaged tissue and leave the living tissue intact.

This is important on two levels. First of all, a small robot is minimally invasive and does not require the opening of the skull. Second of all, it can be used while a patient is inside an MRI. While most brain surgery patients undergo an MRI before surgery, there can still be shifts and changes before and during an operation. As such, the ability to see 3D diagrams of the brain at the same time as operating is quite useful.

This robot has already been tested in pig cadavers, and the researchers say that they’ll be ready to test in three to five years. MINIR would make brain surgery less invasive, more accurate, and ultimately safer and easier.

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