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This Robotic Thread Can Carefully Weave Itself Through Veins

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Written by Paul Strauss | September 4, 2019

While most robots use legs or wheels to move around, more and more robotic systems are adopting other kinds of locomotion. Some even wriggle around like snakes or worms. This worm-like robot is designed to maneuver through veins – which sounds scary, but could actually save lives.


Developed by a group of engineers at MIT, this extremely thin robot can make its way through twisty, turny, and narrow paths like the veins in your brain. The magnetic hyrdogel-coated robotic thread is actively-steered to its destination using a magnet to change its direction.

In theory, the tech could be used to build medical devices which smoothly wind their way through veins to perform procedures like clearing blood clots, and do it in a more controllable way than today’s techniques, which often use passive guidewires that work like a plumber’s snake, and can cause injury to delicate vessels and veins should they rub against their walls or catch a corner badly.