We are on track to meet Ray Kurzweil’s prediction that nanorobots will be swimming around in our bodies for our health by 2030. Nanobots have already shrunk tumors in mice and Bama miniature pigs by moving through their blood. Now researchers are closing in on the next challenge, getting nanobots to safely travel through dense tissue like that found in your eyeball.
These new nanobots are 500 nanometers wide and propeller-shaped so they can drill through the vitreous, a gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain a round shape. There are millions of fine fibers intertwined within the vitreous that are attached to the surface of the retina, the eye's light-sensitive tissue. The goal is for the nanobot to be able to deliver medicine to a specific location without damaging the eye. 200 times smaller than a human hair and coated with a slippery non-stick substance, they are small enough to fit between the fine fibers of the vitreous. The process is compared to a corkscrew squirming through double-sided adhesive tape.
The paper outlining the process was published on Friday in the journal Science Advances. It points out that “traditional delivery methods rely on the random, passive diffusion of molecules, which do not allow for the rapid delivery of a concentrated cargo to a defined region at the posterior pole of the eye.” The paper then details how the nanobots contain magnetic material so they can be steered by an external magnetic field. In the study, thousands of the nanobots were injected into and successfully migrated to the back of a dissected pig’s eye, showing their efficacy and potential for drug delivery in dense tissues.
We will literally see these nanobots coming for our eyeballs in the very near future.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. Would this type of treatment reduce or increase costs associated with ocular medicine?
Q2. What other benefits are there to pinpointing delivery of medicine as opposed to spreading it over a diffuse area?
Q3. What is your opinion about Ray Kurzweil’s prediction that machines and humans will meld together by 2030?