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Pitt Engineer Developing Tiny Drone For Inside The Body

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- We're all familiar with the kind of personal drones up in the sky, but how about a little tiny drone inside your body.

"We're going to make a tiny, tiny swimmer that actually navigates inside the human body, through the bloodstream or any body fluid inside the body," Dr. Sung Kwon Cho explained to KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday."

Dr. Cho at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering has just received a nearly three-quarter of a million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to develop that technology.

Besides more precise bio-imaging, the swimmer drone can also deliver a drug to a specific target, like a cancer or tumor.

"Sometimes you need to deliver the drug to some specific target. It's not in the entire body. So, basically, this drone can carry the drug and then only release it in the targeted area," says Dr. Cho.

So how big is this drone?

About one millimeter and the width of a hair.

The goal is to inject the drone into the blood stream and then navigate it through the body with different frequency of sound waves.

"We give sound waves basically power. We just give ultrasound outside, and that's actually the power source," Dr. Cho says.

So what happens to the drone after it does its job?

"We are eventually making this drone as bio-degradable, so once you use it, you basically automatically dissolve it so you don't have to open your body. You don't have to take it out," says Dr. Cho.

A drone that dissolves inside the body.

As exciting as this new technology is, it's really in its infancy with many more years of development and then government approvals.

So don't expect to see little drones in your body much before the 2020s.

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