The global population is steadily growing immune to antibiotics – a dangerous situation, as new medicines have not yet been developed to take their place. Forecasting healthcare scenarios to 2050, the designers have developed a microscopic robot to be ingested as a replacement for antibiotics. The bio-reactive, 4D-printed smart material incorporates two new candidate antibiotic materials: star-shaped peptide polymers currently being developed by the University of Melbourne, and Guanidinium-functionalised polycarbonates under development by IBM. The 4D mechanism substantially enhances the functionality of these materials, covering the bacterium and resulting in more effective ionic interaction with the target bacteria membranes.
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