According to an ancient southern Chinese form of black magic known as Gu a small poisonous creature similar to a worm could be grown in a pot and used to control a person’s mind.
Now a team of researchers in Shenzhen have created a robot worm that could enter the human body, move along blood vessels and hook up to the neurons.
“In a way it is similar to Gu,” said Xu Tiantian, a lead scientist for the project at the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“But our purpose is not developing a biological weapon. It’s the opposite,” she added.
In recent years, science labs around the world have produced many micro-bots but mostly they were only capable of performing some simple tasks.
But a series of videos released by the team alongside a study in Advanced Functional Materials earlier this month show that the tiny intelligent robots – which they dubbed iRobots – can hop over a hurdle, swim through a tube or squeeze through a gap half its body width.
The 1mm by 3mm robotic worms are not powered by computer chips or batteries, but by an external magnetic field generator.