A biomimicry research group at Imperial College, London, has turned to the ovipositor of S. noctilio as inspiration for design of a long, flexible probe to access tumors in deep internal brain areas, potentially in order to perform multiple medical treatments such as biopsies, placing electrodes or other instruments, delivering drugs or carrying out microsurgeries. The wasp ovipositor has a unique solution for penetrating materials without rotation, using a zipper-like mechanism where the two parallel halves create tension against each other to pull each other through the substrate; the stability of this system allows the apparatus to be virtually unlimited in length (Henneman 2013; Imperial college London 2013). You can read more about this project at: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/mechatronicsinmedicine/research/biomimeticflexibleandsteerableprobeforneurosurgery and in the reference cited there.
- Henneman, M.L. 2012. Cancer patients will soon get help from parasitic wasps. Bioblog. Retrieved September 5, 2013 from http://bioblog.biotunes.org/bioblog/2012/08/06/cancer-patients-will-soon-get-help-from-parasitic-wasps/
- Imperial College, London 2013. Biomimetic flexible and steerable probe for neurosurgery. Retrieved September 5, 2013 from http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/mechatronicsinmedicine/research/biomimeticflexibleandsteerableprobeforneurosurgery
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