Robot for lazy sperm

February 17, 2016 | 12:00
Robot for lazy sperm
Robot for lazy sperm
In-vitro fertilization is a subject which was often in the news at the end of the last century, but the injection of a sperm into the cytoplasm of an egg cell with a pipette has not made headlines for a long time. The announcement of a new technique developed by a German team is causing a buzz now. This time, it’s a kind of “lifeguard-robot” that’s doing the work. You can read about all shapes and sizes of robots in these columns, big, small, serious, funny…but never before a robot for lazy sperm. A joke? Not at all. We’re talking about some serious work being done in Dresden, in Germany, which involves helping a sperm that is incapable of getting to fertilize an egg itself. The essence of this robot is a helical ribbon, controlled remotely by a magnetic field. This microscopic spiral - made by 3D printing - comes up behind a sperm, encircles its tail, and propels its victim like a prisoner towards the egg. According to these images, the process has been successful...

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