On March 3, 2017, Dr. Brad Nelson, Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich presented a lecture titled “Microrobotics and Nanomedicine: Future Directions in Medical Robotics” to the College of Engineering (COE), Peking University. Nearly 30 teachers and students attended the lecture. Prof. Huiling Duan, director of the Department of Mechanics and Engineering Science hosted the talk.
Prof. Brad Nelson gives the lecture
Prof. Dr. Brad Nelson has been the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich since 2002. He has over thirty years of experience in the field of robotics and has received a number of awards in the fields of robotics, nanotechnology, and biomedicine.
In the talk, Prof. Nelson pointed out that the futuristic vision of micro and nanorobotics that navigate throughout our bodies searching for and destroying disease is still a long way to go, yet there have been impressive advances in the fabrication, powering, and control of tiny motile devices in the past decade.
In his lab, a microrobot was made which can be injected into human eyes to carry out disease treatment. The wound will be tiny enough to be self-healed. Another microrobot could enter into patients’ heart to do surgery under control of the doctor. Such technologies have entered clinical trials, and commercial applications of some of the new technologies are realized.
Before the talk concluded, he brought forward his outlook for medical microrobotics. Firstly, the micro/nanorobotics community has made tremendous progress in a decade in power, locomotion, fabrication, magnetic guidance and addressing appropriate therapies. Secondly, the potential is huge, but the timeline is uncertain. Thirdly, the field is in its infancy, but clinical application is on the horizon.
COE teachers and students attend the lecture
After his talk, many teachers and students raised related questions, and Prof. Nelson answered them accordingly.