Soft Filaments Form Artificial Muscles

Robots need to work with people, and they need to occupy the same spaces and manipulate the same environment (doors and cabinets, for example). Soft, artificial muscle fibers may be a good match.

"Thin soft filaments that can easily stretch, bend, twist or shear are capable of extreme deformations that lead to knot-like, braid-like or loop-like structures that can store or release energy easily," said L. Mahadevan, the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and of Physics. "This has been exploited by a number of experimental groups recently to create prototypical artificial muscle fibers. But how the topology, geometry and mechanics of these slender fibers come together during this process was not completely clear. Our study explains the theoretical principles underlying these shape transformations, and sheds light on the underlying design principles."

"Soft fibers are the basic unit of a muscle and could be used in everything from robotics to smart textiles that can respond to stimuli such as heat or humidity," said Nicholas Charles, a PhD student in Applied Mathematics and first author of the paper. "The possibilities are endless, if we can understand the system. Our work explains the complex morphology of soft, strongly stretched and twisted fibers and provides guidelines for the best designs."

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.)

BattleMechs are initially made up of a series of internal structure "bones" which are connected together to form the skeleton of the 'Mech. An electroactive polymer called myomer, which contracts in the presence of an electric current, is then wrapped around these bones. This powerful myomer transmission system is what gives BattleMechs their speed and agility in even the roughest terrain.

The necessary electric current for the myomers is provided by a fusion reactor mounted in the torso. This artificial skeleton and musculature combined with a powerful gyroscope provide stability for the BattleMech. The entire system is controlled by a pilot wearing a neurohelmet that effectively links the 'Mech's central computer to the pilot's sense of balance and nervous system. The neurohelmet also gives feedback by providing a kinesthetic sense of the mech's position for better judgement of balance. The movement of a 'Mech is controlled by a combination of throttle, joysticks, and dual pedal system.
(Via Wikipedia)

See also the entry for artificial muscles from Cyborg by Martin Caidin.

Via Eurekalert.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/15/2019)

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 ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.' - Vernor Vinge, 2001.

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1928.

Soft Filaments Form Artificial Muscles
Battletech!

 

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

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

NASA's Electric Motor Scooter
'...all the [lunar] prospectors took bicycles along as a matter of course'

Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.'

Students Surveilled By School Phone Apps
Cheer up, students. '...cracking my SchoolBook had been easy.'

Massage Robot Has Soft Hands, Er, Pads
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.'

Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'

Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.'

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.