A robotic thread, magnetically controlled and able to glide through the tangled structure of the brain's blood vessels, was created by a team of engineers at MIT (Institute of Massachusetts technology), in the USA, and may assist doctors in the treatment of lesions resulting from aneurysms or strokes. The robotic thread is composed, at its core, by a nickel and titanium alloy, a flexible material that the team of scholars involved in a rubber paste, where they inserted the magnetic particles. The device was tested on replicas of blood vessels of the brain manufactured in silicon, which were filled with a liquid simulating the viscosity of the blood. The surface of the stand-alone device was coated by a hydrogel to be able to glide smoothly inside the blood vessels without affecting the magnetism of the wire and without causing damage to the vessels. The engineers then manoeuvered a magnet around the models of vessels to guide the robotic thread, which contains magnetic particles, within the sinuous and narrow structures of the blood vessels.
The devices currently used are controlled manually by the surgeon and they are made of metallic alloys wrapped in a polymer, a kind of material that, according to MIT, can cause friction and damage to the walls of the blood vessels if the wire gets stuck. Therefore, the MIT team believes that the intravenous device created has advantages in relation to those currently used by doctors to treat lesions in the cerebral blood vessels.