Skip to main content

Nanorobotic surgery

Precise surgery at the cellular or sub-cellular level
Tiny machines that will enable surgeons to perform operations with precision at nanoscale dimensions.

Although these tiny machines are yet to progress beyond the research laboratory, their potential to transform surgical practice is enormous.

The goals of our Nanorobotic Surgery program are to design and develop nanorobots that will:

  • enable surveillance, early detection, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment of disease at the cellular or subcellular level
  • provide less invasive and more effective surgical techniques than those available currently; and
  • move the needle towards obtaining better outcomes in diseases that are currently diagnosed too late, for which there is no effective treatment, or in which the risks of treatment outweigh the benefits.

The wide-range of clinical indications for nanorobots are drawn from our meetings thus far with adult and paediatric surgeons from across the University of Sydney’s campuses and linked hospitals.

They were asked the question: if you could miniaturize yourself with all of your intelligence, knowledge, sensors and & skills, what could you do in your field of surgery that you cannot do now?

Potential indications on the list include coronary artery disease; aortic aneurysm; Ménière’s disease; nerve-conduction hearing loss;many types of cancer, including colorectal, brain and ovarian cancer and cancers of childhood; many causes of blindness including age-related macular degeneration; corneal damage and diabetic retinopathy; neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease; diseases of bones and joints.

We are at the formative stages of this far-sighted 20-year mission. We aim to realise the potential of nanorobotic surgery by bringing together multidisciplinary teams to undertake research in areas such as:

  • smart programmable wireless sensors for microscopic diagnosis
  • self-assembling microimagers deployable via the body’s highways, such as the cardiovascular system
  • single cell biopsy or transplant (stem cells) nanobots
  • microscopic smart drug and gene delivery nanobots
  • capillary rovers
  • microscopic 3D printer nanobots

We are currently developing a comprehensive nanorobotics surgery science and technology roadmap that will describe in detail the nanoscience and technology research areas and the critical capabilities and timing needed to reach technology readiness. The roadmap will be completed in late June 2018.

Benjamin Eggleton

Director, Sydney Nano
  • +61 2 9351 7726
  • Michael Spence Building (F23)
View Ben's profile on our Leadership page.