Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"If you don't care about science enough to be interested in it on its own, you shouldn't try to write hard science fiction."
- Frederik Pohl

Quasi-Muscles (Sham Musculature)  
  A means of giving motive power to robots or machines that is similar to animal musculature.  

This is a very early reference to an idea that is important to many modern robots - the ability to mimic the smooth (and often quick) motions of living creatures.

And not only did the Martians either not know of (which is incredible), or abstain from, the wheel, but in their apparatus singularly little use is made of the fixed pivot or relatively fixed pivot, with circular motions thereabout confined to one plane. Almost all the joints of the machinery present a complicated system of sliding parts moving over small but beautifully curved friction bearings. And while upon this matter of detail, it is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature of the disks in an elastic sheath; these disks become polarised and drawn closely and powerfully together when traversed by a current of electricity. In this way the curious parallelism to animal motions, which was so striking and disturbing to the human beholder, was attained.

Such quasi-muscles abounded in the crablike handling-machine which, on my first peeping out of the slit, I watched unpacking the cylinder. It seemed infinitely more alive than the actual Martians lying beyond it in the sunset light, panting, stirring ineffectual tentacles, and moving feebly after their vast journey across space.

Technovelgy from The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells.
Published by Harper and Bros. in 1898
Additional resources -

Wells does a remarkable job of visualizing mechanical devices that mimic the smooth motions of animals; biomimicry, as it is called, is a key concept in modern robotics.

Readers have also mentioned that In Battletech, 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.

Myomer is an artificial analog of biological muscles with a greater strength to weight ratio. They are engaged with electrical current and its strength depends on the amount of fibers activated, not the current provided.


(Battletech Wiki)

Myomer requires large amounts of electrical voltage to function, with the larger "muscles" obviously requiring more energy than smaller ones. However, they have high electrical resistance, causing large amounts of waste heat which needs to be dispersed or the fibers will fry themselves. This does however grant an advantage as myomer cannot be stunned by electrical discharges. Additionally, metal armor and skeletons have a low electrical resistance, channeling and discharging any strong electrical hits into the ground.

Also, compare to artificial muscles from Martin Caidin's 1972 novel Cyborg.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The War of the Worlds
  More Ideas and Technology by H.G. Wells
  Tech news articles related to The War of the Worlds
  Tech news articles related to works by H.G. Wells

Quasi-Muscles (Sham Musculature)-related news articles:
  - Carbon Nanotube Muscles
  - Biomimetic Artificial Muscles
  - Artificial Muscles To Power UAV Drone Wings
  - Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
  - Away Rude Mechanicals! I Want Self-Sensing Variable-Stiffness Artificial Muscles.

Articles related to Robotics
Chaffeur Robot Musashi Will Drive Your Regular Car
Shanghai Guidelines For Humanoid Robots
Desktop TARS Robot From Interstellar
Robots Can Now Have Smiling Faces With Human Skin

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

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 Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Chaffeur Robot Musashi Will Drive Your Regular Car
'What would you do,' Eric asked the robot cabdriver, 'if your wife had turned to stone, your best friend were a toad, and you had lost your job?'

Space Exporers! Now, You Can Drink Your Own Urine
'those suits they wear -- call them 'stillsuits' -- that reclaim the body's own water...'

SpaceX EVA Spacesuit Tested By Polaris Dawn Crew
'Now, except for weight and heat, the same conditions prevail in this chamber as in space.'

Automatic Bot Traffic Is 38 Percent Of HTTP Requests
'there were so many worms and counterworms loose in the data-net...'

Shanghai Guidelines For Humanoid Robots
'Now, look, let's start with the three fundamental Rules of Robotics...'

Desktop TARS Robot From Interstellar
What's YOUR sarcasm setting?

Robots Can Now Have Smiling Faces With Human Skin
'I am a cybernetic organism...'

Virtual Rat Predicts Actual Rat Neural Activity
'..the synthetic intellects at the Place of Knowledge had far outstripped the minds of men.'

GoSun EV Solar Charger Drapes Onto Your Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens.'

Rizon 4 Ironing Robot
'But after washing and drying clothes had to be smooth - free from fine lines and wrinkles ...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.