Scanning Electron Microscopic image of a rolled-up microtube, with the bull sperm cell at the tube's end (Photo: IFW Dresden, Germany)
The sperm cell approaches the microtube (Image: IFW Dresden, Germany)
Spermbots created at IFW Dresden approach an egg, and the microtube falls away (Image: IFW Dresden, Germany)
Hijacking sperm cells to create little robots might seem far out, but that's exactly what researchers from the Dresden Institute for Integrative Nanosciences have done. Their "spermbots" consist of live sperm cells in little tubes, that can be magnetically controlled to move in a desired direction until they reach their destination and do their job – they're currently robust enough to even guide a specific sperm cell to an egg cell. The scientists hope that further development will allow the technology to offer a viable alternative to parents trying to have a child through in-vitro fertilization. When perfected, the spermbots could also be used as a safe means for drug delivery and gene manipulation.
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