Dr. James FriendThe Medgadget article Bacteria-Like Microbots to Help Surgeons said
RESEARCHERS at Monash University are developing micro-robots they hope will be able to swim through the human body and perform medical tasks. James Friend’s aim is to build a tiny machine no wider than two human hairs side by side to do the job. But such a device, 250 microns in diameter, seems unimaginable.
Dr Friend, however, points out he has already built a linear motor the size of a salt crystal, and it works although he admits “we still have a way to go”.
The problem in micro-robotics is designing a motor so small it would be hard to see it, much less have it operate inside the human body. That is only one of the challenges confronting Dr Friend and a team of researchers at Monash’s $4.5 million micro/nano physics research laboratory.
Yet within three years, with the help of a $300,000 grant from the Australian Research Council, Dr Friend believes the microscopic motor could be a reality. Then it will be up to the medical experts to decide how such a machine could be used.
James Friend is
Codirector, Micro/Nanophysics Research Laboratory,
Senior Lecturer, Dept of Mechanical Engineering,
Mechatronics, at Monash University.
James coauthored A Simple Bidirectional Linear Microactuator for Nanopositioning the “Baltan” Microactuator, Electrospinning carbon nanotube polymer composite nanofibers, An Ultrasonic Linear Motor using Ridge Mode Traveling Waves, Characteristics of ultrasonic suction pump without moving parts, A low-profile design for the noncontact ultrasonically levitated stage, and A piezoelectric micromotor using in-plane shearing of PZT elements. Read the full list of his publications!
His patents and provisional patent applications include “Microfluidic systems using surface acoustic energy and method of use thereof”,”Concentration and dispersion of small particles in small fluid volumes using acoustic energy”,”Process and apparatus for generating particles”,”A novel traveling wave ultrasonic motor (Scream motor)”,”Asymmetrically twisted bar structures to efficiently produce torsional vibration”,”Triangular fin structure to produce an ultrasonic linear micromotor”, and “Braille system for mobile phone communication for the blind”.
James earned a BSci (magna cum laude) in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1992, a MSci in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1994, and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1998. He is a member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Acoustical Society of Japan, and Sigma Xi.