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Robots the size of a human hair cure sick mice -- with bubbles

A breakthrough in micromotors has scientists celebrating.

Raquel Welch In 'Fantastic Voyage'

"Fantastic Voyage": This is what we imagine when we hear about tiny nanotechnology robots inside the body. 

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Scientists are breaking out the bubbles to celebrate a new breakthrough -- and we're not talking about champagne. Tiny robots the size of a human hair, known as micromotors, have been used to cure bacterial infections in mice using bubbles.  

New Scientist reports that a team from the University of California, San Diego used the micromotors to administer a daily dose of antibiotics in the stomachs of mice and found improved results compared with more conventional methods.

The tiny drug delivery vehicles contain a magnesium core that reacts with gastric acid. This generates bubbles that both propel the micromotor and reduce stomach acid levels so antibiotics aren't destroyed when released.