TECH

Engineers Create Robot Sperm

06/06/2014 12:26 BST | Updated 06/06/2014 12:59 BST

Engineers have created a robot sperm that can be controlled using something as simple as a fridge magnet.

The minuscule robot is made using a super strong polymer, the head is then coated in metal allowing it to be controlled using weak magnetic fields.

Created by engineers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, the robot sperm could potentially used as a drug delivery method or to help with fertilisation.

At the moment the robot is only going through simple movement tests however the researchers, led by Dr Sarthak Misra, plan to test it in more complex environments.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Misra explains how the robot works:

"The magnetic head is used to orient it in a certain direction and then, just by flapping its tail, it starts to move forward, the flapping happens because we change the current in the coils."

It's important to note that this isn't a robot in the conventional sense, there are no circuit boards or artificial intelligence. Instead the robot is simply moved by the manipulation of magnetic fields.

One of its more unconventional uses could be in the manufacturing of nano-sized objects, by removing the powertrain the robot sperm can become extremely small, whilst still being able to move with impressive levels of accuracy.