What it is:
MIT researchers have created a pill-sized, folding "origami robot" comprised of biocompatible composite material sheets. After the patient swallows a tiny ice capsule containing the robot, the ice melts and the robot unfolds itself; meanwhile, in a remote location, a physician can maneuver the robot and perform a variety of clinical procedures. The robot then biodegrades and exits the body naturally. Its skill set includes drug delivery, foreign object location and retrieval, and wound care.
Why it's important:
The MIT researchers' next move is to make their origami-inspired robot autonomous, so that it can perform simple procedures without a physician's intervention. With so many similar nanorobots and "smart pills" in development, we're watching this area of healthcare closely.
Spotted by Marissa Brassfield