Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Nanobots sweeping away microbial biofilms

22 May 2019

Robot Cleaners

You might have seen the small, circular robotic vacuum cleaners that can autonomously clean your house. While you’re out, they methodically whiz around your living room, sucking up unwanted dirt and debris. What if the same could be done for hard-to-reach parts of your body, or essential medical equipment? Researchers have developed micro-robots that can swarm together to remove biofilms – stubborn mats of bacteria stuck onto surfaces – from equipment like catheters and even human teeth. The nanobots, pictured cleaning a circle from a biofilm-covered surface, could potentially be steered by magnetic fields to remove tricky growths on teeth, saving patients from the unpleasant experience of having a dentist fishing around their mouth, or sterilise contaminated equipment – a particularly promising idea as staving off antibiotic-resistant bacteria in medical settings becomes ever-more important.

Written by Anthony Lewis

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.