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  Magnetically Controlled Degradable Ingestible Robots for In-body Medical Operations

   Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

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  Dr S Miyashita  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project


Recent advances in microrobot technology have opened up great possibilities for the use of robots in the body. Their uses are varied, including routine administration of drugs, elimination of inappropriate foreign items such as an accidentally ingested button battery and suturing. The development of robots, especially in the form of oral capsules, has been the focus in the field of robotics and medical engineering. 


This project will develop an ingestible (swallowable) robot in the form of a capsule or a self-foldable origami robot that can operate inside the body, particularly in the gut or intestine. The robot will have the ability to deliver drugs and perform micro-surgery with its arms and possibly (optional) be made of biodegradable materials that can be digested and excreted from the body after use. We will use an externally applied magnetic field for driving and monitoring. The assigned student(s) will first define the required robot functionality and determine the aimed motion of the robot. The student will learn how to design a robot using CAD, build with equipment in the lab such as a 3D printer or laser cutter, test it, and summarise it in a paper.

Our group has developed a variety of origami robots, one of which is an edible origami robot [1] or an extension of the functionality of origami by allowing it to 'wear' origami on its own [2].

Eligibility Criteria:

- Areas of Research (you should fit into one of the following areas): Engineering (ME, EE, CS, Control, Design), Robotics, Physics, BioEngineering, Material Sciences.

- Students interested in developing hardware or conducting research on simulations.

- Students who enjoy learning new fabrication techniques and making things with their hands.

- Students who are able to interact with group members and work on projects.

The Research Group: 

The Sheffield Microbotics Lab (SML) at the University of Sheffield is an interdisciplinary group with a focus on robotics technology, developing robots ranging in size from a few millimetres to the palm of a hand. The lab has a luxurious space, including a dedicated cleanroom and equipment for robot fabrication, and chemical and biological areas. The University of Sheffield is the first in the UK for engineering research investment (HESA report 2019), with £200M funded for the UK’s flagship manufacturing research centre, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). 


The environment, with an over £120k equipment investment, provides excellent conditions for the proposed research. The space is shared with the Sheffield Biomedical Robotics Lab led by Dr Dana Damian, which enables active student interaction, such as co-running journal clubs and research progress meetings. The members are also affiliated with Sheffield Robotics which is the fourth leading centre for robotics research in the UK, facilitating research collaborations. 

Learn about our group at

Support and training: 

Students are supervised by the supervisor once a week through one-to-one meetings. They also present a monthly progress report in the lab and receive feedback from senior members. The student will be provided with a research budget, which can be used for attending an international conference and a domestic conference during the period of the programme. The department, Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE), runs a cohort training and support for all students (e.g. PGR Symposium, seminars on scientific writing, ED&I, etc.), with structured events and support available throughout their studies. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

To start February 2024

Engineering (12)


[1] Iwasaki, H., Lefevre, F., Damian, D. D., Iwase, E., Miyashita, S. (2020) Autonomous and Reversible Adhesion Using Elastomeric Suction Cups for In-Vivo Medical Treatments, Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 2015-2022.
[2] Miyashita, S., Guitron, S., Li, S., and Rus D. (2017) Robotic Metamorphosis by Origami Exoskeletons, Science Robotics, 2(10), eaao4369.

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 About the Project