Velcro (based on how the seeds of certain plants stick to the skins of animals), the shape of the front of the baggage (similar to some birds to improve aerodynamics) or Kevlar (according to the shape of some spider’s web) are just right. a few examples of how man knows how to look at nature and apply it to new technologies in different fields. And of course medicine could not be less.
Tissue implantation and the use of tiny flexible electronic devices are widely used tools in regenerative medicine or wound healing. But many times surgeons treat these subtle and unstable elements with serious problems. Fortunately, nature offers clues to a possible solution, as demonstrated by a new device designed by researchers at the University of Illinois inspired by an octopus’s suction cup. The invention can transfer thin webs or electronic chips to the patient’s body with speed and precision.
“A fundamental achievement in the use of tissue transplantation, such as corneal transplantation surgery, is finding a safe way to achieve surgical adhesion in soft tissue transplantation. Handling these living substances remains a great challenge, as they are fragile and easily wrinkled when removed from culture media” Hyunjoon Kong, professor of chemistry and of biomolecular engineering at Illinois, he said in a university speech.
Experts looked at the way octopuses and squids handle each object under different conditions.
A team of experts was looking for a way to quickly attach and detach the thin and delicate membranes of cell cultures without damaging them, which led them to turn to the animal kingdom for inspiration. wherever things are, both wet and dry, by simply pressing the cup’s suction upon its target. Instead of developing a chemical adhesive, the researchers had an idea: imitating octopus suction cups to invent a new device that had similar adhesive power.
The researchers, whose study was recently published in the journal Science Advances, developed a surgical manipulator with a soft, temperature-sensitive hydrogel layer that they attached to an electric heater. The idea works like this: every time you want to manipulate a very thin sheet or tissue, the hydrogel is gently heated to shrink it. The product is then slightly expanded by absorbing soft tissue or electronic film. Then they put the thing it was intended for and turn off the heating, efficient gel to exfoliate the tissue. The entire process only takes about 10 seconds, and can be performed conveniently and quickly, according to the researchers themselves.
Incorporation of biosensors
The experts took the opportunity to integrate sensors that could help to improve the adhesion of the new technique, to “monitor the deformation of the object in contact with the target and in turn adjust the suction force to the level in “doing; in treating these things we can improve the safety and care, we also want to explore the therapeutic efficacy of the cells and tissues transferred by this new treatment, “said Kong”, so that the materials retain their integrity and function.
The invention is still a prototype, and further research will be needed to protect the practice, but they give us an idea of how we can find new ways to use nature-based solutions (called biomimetic technology).