A team of researchers have decided to revolutionize the world or robotics, and improve the machines’ physical capabilities. So far, technology and science has concentrated on a robot’s mind. Now, these daring researchers have decided to create a soft muscle which looks more lifelike, and enhances the robot’s strength and flexibility.
This soft muscle researchers came up with is revolutionary, since it is so easy to manufacture. It can be easily 3D-printed, and can handle without any struggle material weighing about 1,000 times more than it does. It will be able to manipulate heavy materials in all ways, including twisting, pulling, lifting, or bending.
However, the innovations don’t stop here. Previous robot muscles required an external compression force requiring high-voltage power to work and perform so well. However, this soft muscle needs none of these things. Researchers manufactured it using a material with 15 times the strain density of natural muscle.
The soft muscle is the first accurate replica of a natural muscle
The soft muscle is lifelike, and it can be easily handled. Therefore, apart from its capabilities of bending materials, it is flexible. It has a low density, but high stress and strain capabilities. To achieve that, researchers used a matrix made of silicone rubber, and filled it with ethanol through micro-bubbles. This led to incredible elasticity.
Moreover, this solution is viable, since all these materials are easy to manufacture at low costs. Once the soft muscle gets 3D-printed and achieves the desired shape, it gets electrically charged at low power, with the help of a wire.
A computer increases its temperature up to 80 degrees Celsius, and the soft muscle acquires the ability to expand by 900 percent. This means it becomes capable of performing mostly any action, and of making moves no previous robots were capable of. In other words, it is a faithful robotic reproduction of a real muscle.
All the details of the experiment have been published in the journal Nature Communications.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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