The Sperm Bot
Microscopic machines propel slow swimming sperm toward the egg
One in five men have been diagnosed with slow swimmers, which makes low sperm motility a leading cause of infertility. Artificial insemination and reproduction technologies are options, but the average success rate is under 30 percent. In order to beat the odds, a group of researchers are developing spermbots, which could act as a motor that pushes the sperm towards the egg. Researchers from the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden used a tiny magnet, made of titanium and nickel, to create the metal helices. The coil is just big enough to wrap around the tail of the sperm and mimics a microscopicmotor by propelling the sperm to the egg with the use of a rotating magnetic field. After the sperm makes contact with an egg, it wiggles itself inside and out of the spermbot. Researchers have reported success during testing, as the spermbots have shown they can be directed to slide one the sperm’s tail and travel to the egg in a petri dish.