This Slime Could Save Your Life

A magnetic slime robot sounds less like something with practical medical purposes and more like a creature out of a movie, but such an invention has the potential to be used to help patients. It was created by a group of scientists from Hong Kong, China, intended for maneuvering throughout the body and picking up objects to be taken out. The slime robot's qualities are what makes it perfect for this. According to CNET, it's made of a non-Newtonian fluid, a combination of polyvinyl alcohol and borax. This means that when impacted with high-speed force, it acts as a solid object. With slower force, it acts as a liquid. 

This makes it ideal for navigating through the body's countless miniscule nooks and crannies. It's much more difficult to get objects out of the body with a fully solid tool. With something malleable, though, like the magnetic slime robot, it can get by much easier. It's called "magnetic" because it can be controlled by magnets, allowing doctors to get the slime to go directly where it needs to. The slime can then reach and encapsulate objects, moving them out of the body. 

How the slime robot can be used medically

The researchers who created the slime robot have suggested that the main use for this technology would be within the digestive system (via The Guardian.) In this way, it could be utilized to pick up foreign objects that have been swallowed and need to be removed from the body. One example of this would be in preventing harm from an object such as a battery. Battery leakage is toxic, but if the slime were to capture and encase it, this would prevent any of the chemicals from causing havoc in the body. 

There are still some issues with the magnetic slime robot, however. And the concept hasn't been tested yet. One issue is that the coating on the slime is made of silica, the same material in those small packets on items meant to keep them fresh which always read "Do not eat." That's because they're toxic to the body. Hypothetically, having the silica-coated slime in the body for a short duration of time would be more safe, and could be worth it if there's a foreign object with much more potential to harm (via The Guardian). 

The magnetic slime robot will need to be tested in a medical environment in order for it to be used in the future, and there are no plans to do it yet. But, it's not entirely impossible that in the future, this slime could save some people's lives