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Tiny, Internally Powered Robot Gripper for Biopsies

These little robots could one day make biopsies less invasive, or be used in micro-engineering. Photo courtesy of the American Chemical Society.

A self-folding, robotic microgripper could one day make biopsies less invasive. The star-shaped devices are made from a carefully assembled arrangement of a hydrogel (N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid), a polymer (polypropylene fumarate), and magnetic nanoparticles. The soft hydrogel component swells in response to changes in light, acidity, and temperature. The polymer stiffens …

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