Researchers at MIT, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have invented an origami robot that can be swallowed by a patient and then controlled by an electromagnet to remove foreign objects or make other internal repairs. 

  • In the U.S. every year, there are over 3,500 incidents of swallowed button batteries
  • The origami robot can be encased in ice in a pill form to be swallowed
  • It melts in the stomach acid and balloons out
  • From there, it can be controlled with a magnet to grab and hold onto foreign objects in the stomach lining
  • Other possible uses than removing button batteries are being explored
  • If the origami robot can be controlled without need of the external magnet, the possibilities are endless


“BIONs” – short for Believe It or Not – is the word we use at Ripley’s to refer to anything that is unbelievable and worthy to become part of Ripley’s lore and collection.