Scorpion-milking robot safely extracts venom that can be used in cancer research

While being some of the most toxic on the planet, scorpion venom has a lot of surprising medical applications- ranging from immunosuppressants to cancer research to anti-malarial drugs. However, extracting venom from scorpion has been a difficult and risky task as a simple mistake could be fatal.

To put an end to the traditional method, researchers from the Ben M’sik Hassan II University in Morocco developed a scorpion-milking robot that makes the venom extraction method safer and faster. Dubbed as VES-4, this lightweight scorpion-milking robot clamps the scorpion tail and electrically stimulates the animal to express droplets of venom, which are then captured and stored safely.

“It is designed to extract scorpion venom without harming the animal and to provide more safety for the experimenters,” said Mr. Mouad Mkamel who designed the robot with a team of researchers. He also said that only a single person is required to operate this machine, which contradicts the traditional method.

“The extraction of scorpion venom is a very difficult task and usually takes at least two experimenters,” says Mr. Mkamel. “There are numerous risks including potentially deadly scorpion stings and electric shocks from the stimulators used to extract the venom.”

Researchers have tested this robot on multiple kinds of scorpions, as well as programmed it to remember them via its adjustable settings. It is able to extract venom from four scorpions at once. The machine comes with a LED screen displaying the name of the species of the scorpions currently being milked.

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