First babies born after being conceived by PlayStation-controlled robot
A student engineer from a startup successfully steered a small, mechanised needle through the uterine wall and into the embryo cavity during in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures, using a specialized controller.
Overture Life, a Spanish startup, has successfully fertilised human eggs using a sperm-injecting robot controlled using a PlayStation controller, giving birth to two healthy babies.
One of the engineers involved in developing the world’s first insemination robot had limited experience in the field of fertility medicine. However, they were able to utilise a Sony PlayStation 5 controller to help with the development process. This controller was found to be very effective in terms of its ability to manoeuvre the robot arm, which was essential for the success of the project.
A young engineer from a startup successfully steered a small, mechanised needle during in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures, using a specialized controller. Her success in this delicate procedure could potentially revolutionize the field of assisted reproductive technology.
Over a dozen times, individual sperm cells were deposited into human eggs through this technique.
According to the researchers, the procedures resulted in healthy embryos, which led to the birth of two baby girls. The researchers claim that these babies are the first known individuals to be born after fertilisation with the aid of automated technology. The report said that the babies were born healthy and that this could be a major step forward in fertility treatments.
Eduard Alba, the student mechanical engineer who commanded the sperm-injecting device, described his experience as “calm.” In that exact moment, he thought, “It’s just one more experiment.”
The startup announced that its device is the initial step towards automating in vitro fertilisation, which could make the procedure less expensive and more common.
At present, in vitro fertilization (IVF) laboratories are typically run by a team of highly skilled embryologists. These embryologists are responsible for carefully manipulating sperm and eggs with the aid of ultra-thin hollow needles and powerful microscopes. The average embryologist earns over $125,000 annually.
Overture has raised the most money out of all the startups in the report, with $37 million from investors such as Khosla Ventures and Susan Wojcicki, the former CEO of YouTube.
According to the experts, this is the first step towards a future in which the process will be fully automated.
“The concept is extraordinary,” Gianpiero Palermo, who developed the now-commonplace intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure in the 1990s, said. “But this is a baby step.”
He added that Overture’s engineers still have to manually load sperm cells onto the injector needles, which means that “this is not yet robotic ICSI”.