Light-controlled soft bio-microrobot

Light Sci Appl. 2024 Feb 26;13(1):55. doi: 10.1038/s41377-024-01405-5.


Micro/nanorobots hold exciting prospects for biomedical and even clinical applications due to their small size and high controllability. However, it is still a big challenge to maneuver micro/nanorobots into narrow spaces with high deformability and adaptability to perform complicated biomedical tasks. Here, we report a light-controlled soft bio-microrobots (called "Ebot") based on Euglena gracilis that are capable of performing multiple tasks in narrow microenvironments including intestinal mucosa with high controllability, deformability and adaptability. The motion of the Ebot can be precisely navigated via light-controlled polygonal flagellum beating. Moreover, the Ebot shows highly controlled deformability with different light illumination duration, which allows it to pass through narrow and curved microchannels with high adaptability. With these features, Ebots are able to execute multiple tasks, such as targeted drug delivery, selective removal of diseased cells in intestinal mucosa, as well as photodynamic therapy. This light-controlled Ebot provides a new bio-microrobotic tool, with many new possibilities for biomedical task execution in narrow and complicated spaces where conventional tools are difficult to access due to the lack of deformability and bio-adaptability.