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Researchers create shape-shifting microbots that can floss and wash teeth.

University of Pennsylvania scientists have created shape-shifting microbots that can floss, rinse, and wash teeth.

The robotic device is magnetic and constructed of iron. It has the ability to produce bristle-like structures as well as extended strings of shapes.

The prototype may be especially useful for elderly persons who have problems using their hands and find it challenging to brush their teeth by hand.

‘Routine dental care is laborious and can offer obstacles for many patients, especially those who have a hard time cleaning their teeth,’ said Hyun (Michel) Koo, a professor at Penn’s School of Dental Medicine and a co-author of the study, told PennToday.

Comparing the microbots to ‘a robotic arm that might reach out and clean a surface’ Edward Steager, a study co-author from Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science believes that tiny machines can be programmed.

According to Steager, magnetic fields can shape and manipulate nanoparticles in unexpected ways.

The main innovation, he continued, is that the robotics system is capable of doing all three tasks in a single, hands-free, automated manner.

The US Food and Drug Administration has cleared the use of iron oxide nanoparticles for use in other biotech goods, including delivery methods for some medications and contrast chemicals that are injected into MRI patients.


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