Biomimetic Artificial Muscles

A new artificial muscle, which could carry a weight 80 times its own and is able to extend to five times its original length when carrying the load, has been created by a research team from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Faculty of Engineering. The team believes its invention will pave the way for the construction of life-like robots with superhuman strength and ability.

In addition, these novel artificial muscles could potentially convert and store energy, which could help the robots power themselves after a short period of charging.

The team was led by Dr Adrian Koh from NUS’ Engineering Science Programme and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Explaining how he and his multidisciplinary team managed to design and create their novel superhuman muscles, Dr Koh said, “Our materials mimic those of the human muscle, responding quickly to electrical impulses, instead of slowly for mechanisms driven by hydraulics. Robots move in a jerky manner because of this mechanism. Now, imagine artificial muscles which are pliable, extendable and react in a fraction of a second like those of a human. Robots equipped with such muscles will be able to function in a more human-like manner – and outperform humans in strength.”

In order to achieve this, Dr Koh and his team have used polymers which could be stretched over 10 times their original length. Translated scientifically, this means that these muscles have a strain displacement of 1,000 per cent.

A good understanding of the fundamentals was largely the cause of their success, Dr Koh added.

“We put theory to good use. Last year, we calculated theoretically that polymer muscles driven by electrical impulse could potentially have a strain displacement of 1,000 per cent, lifting a load of up to 500 times its own weight. So I asked my students to strive towards this Holy Grail, no matter how impossible it sounded,” he said.

Though they could only achieve a modicum of their target, it is a first in robotics. For his contributions, Dr Koh was awarded the Promising International Researcher Award at the 3rd International Conference on Electromechanically-Active Polymer Transducers and Artificial Muscles in June 2013, held in Zürich, Switzerland. The Award recognises young researchers from outside Europe, who have made significant contributions in the field of electromechanically-active polymers, and display promise to successful career in the field.

Fans of Battletech recall that the giant robot "mechs" are powered by an artificial muscle called "Myomer", a fibrous material consisting of microscopically thin tubes filled with a substance (acti-strandular fiber) that contracts when voltage is applied. (See also the power wagons from Jack Vance's 1967 novel The Last Castle for a similar idea.)

Update 02-Apr-2014: See the entry for Quasi-Muscles (Sham Musculature) from HG Wells' 1898 novel The War of the Worlds. End update.

Via NewsHub.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/4/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Robots Take Our Jobs By Reading Our Instructions
'The Talk Between Robots radio...' - Frederik Pohl, 1954.

Mother Robot Evolves Her Children
'The Robot Mother... the most dangerous thing in creation.' - Eric Frank Russell, 1941.

Cheetah 2 Robot Now Leaps Obstacles To Get You
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'- Neal Stephenson, 1992.

Robotic Exoskeleton Releases Man From Wheelchair
'This man was standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates...'- Fritz Leiber, 1968.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Robots Take Our Jobs By Reading Our Instructions
'The Talk Between Robots radio...'

Surgery In Space
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Flimmer Navy Drone Flies And Swims
Launch the Flying Sub!

Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

Growing Metal In The Shape You Want
What more do you need, engineers?

Self-Healing Materials For Spacecraft
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that sealed the punctures...'

World's First Full-Colour, Flexible Thin-Film Reflective Display
'A wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling colour....'

Jazz AI Compliments Of DARPA
'I request that you feed the correlation between those dots and the levers of the panel into my memory banks.'

Tasty Space Lettuce!
Having tested, we tasted.

See LG OLED Wallpaper - Amazing Video
'... television that unrolled like a poster.'

Canada's Inflatable Space Elevator Tower
"...establish an elevator system linking Earth to space?"

Ekso Works Industrial Exoskeleton
'Earth's scientists [devised] rigid metallic clothing not unlike armor...'

Mother Robot Evolves Her Children
'The Robot Mother... the most dangerous thing in creation.'

Cheetah 2 Robot Now Leaps Obstacles To Get You
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'

Xiaoice Will Text You And Be Your Friend
'If you spoke English, results might be whimsical...'

Synthetic Coral To Clean The Seas?
'Numberless capillaries arranged in a belt around the smart coral reef...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.