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In 1966, the movie "Fantastic Voyage" recounted the tale of doctors who are miniaturised along with a submarine and injected into the body of a Soviet defector, sailing up his bloodstream to destroy a brain clot that imperils the VIP's life.
The improbable storyline -- and the equally improbable casting of sex icon Raquel Welch as a scientist in a wetsuit -- invited the audience to suspend their disbelief and enjoy a good sci-fi romp.
More than 40 years later, some of the futuristic potential of "Fantastic Voyage" has taken a step closer to realisation, thanks to a remarkable achievement in miniaturisation unveiled on Tuesday.
There's no submarine or Raquel Welch, but instead a motorised robot that its inventors believe is small enough to be injected into the human bloodstream.
One day, the remote-controlled bot could carry sensor equipment for observation work, relaying images back to surgeons.
Or it could become a tiny surgeon, cutting away blood clots, reaming out clogged arteries or repairing damaged tissue, its inventors hope.