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This article was published on January 15, 2016

‘Spermbots’ are a bionic suit for your sperm

‘Spermbots’ are a bionic suit for your sperm
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

One of the main causes of infertility in men is low sperm motility. That is to say, the sperm are present and alive, but they have the swimming prowess of a toddler that’s afraid to lose its water wings.

In short, they just aren’t fast enough to reach the egg.

It’s hard to fault them, I can’t get to the front door fast enough for the FedEx guy not to leave my package in the bushes these days.

But now, researchers in Germany have found a way to use tiny robots to help sperm swim more quickly and efficiently. A video released by the American Chemical Society shows the true impact these tiny bionic sperm suits could have on couples that have had trouble conceiving.

Spermbots are tiny metal helixes just large enough to completely encircle the tail of a single sperm and propel it toward the egg.

According to a new study from the journal Nano Letters, published Wednesday, researchers found that they were able to control these tiny bionic swimmers in a petri dish with the help of of a magnetic field.

Of course, success in a petri dish is not indicative of success inside the human body but the alternative is currently artificial insemination, an expensive procedure that touts a success rate of under 30 percent.

The researchers note that they still have work to do and that they aren’t sure when this will be ready for tests within the body.

Spermbot could help solve male infertility [American Chemical Society via Huffington Post]

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