Artificial Muscles

  • Science
    MIT researchers have created artificial muscles using simple re-purposed nylon filament. The new flexing material has potential in everything from robotics and artificial limbs to powered flexible components for use in the automobile and aviation industries.
  • Japanese researchers at Hiroshima University and Daiya Industry Co. have created an assistive exoskeleton that does away with heavy batteries and motors. Instead, their Unplugged Powered Suit (UPS) harnesses the wearer's own weight.​
  • Scientists have developed a new hydrogel that stretches and contracts just like an artificial muscle. The team created an L-shaped object made out of the hydrogel and immersed it in a water bath. When the water’s temperature was varied, it slowly "walked" forward.
  • All living organisms – human, animal, or otherwise – continuously move molecules around their cells. It's a crucial mechanism of life, vital for feeding cells the proteins they need to function. And now scientists at Northwestern University have created a machine that mimics this pumping mechanism.
  • Most artificial muscles can only expand in one direction, or contract in the other. Now, however, scientists from National Taiwan University have gotten around that limitation using gold-plated onion cells.
  • An artificial muscle material developed by Lenore Rasmussen and her company RasLabs is headed to the ISS this week to see if, in addition to better prosthetic devices, the material would be suitable for use in robots on deep space missions.
  • Engineers from Germany's Saarland University have taken a unique approach with their prototype artificial hand. It moves its fingers via shape-memory nickel-titanium alloy wires, bundled together to perform intricate tasks by working like natural muscle fibers.
  • Baymax, the inflatable robot in Big Hero 6, may seem as unlikely as a chocolate teapot, but professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon, Chris Atkeson, is working on a real life version (minus the karate and flying armor). Gizmag caught up with Atkeson to discuss the project.
  • Two new lifelike (some might even say positively creepy) robot creations of Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro have now joined the staff of Tokyo's Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, and will act as announcer and science guide to a new permanent exhibition.
  • Using pneumatic artificial muscles, scientists have replicated the 3D twisting motion of the beating heart. The research could lead to better-functioning cardiac implants, among other things.
  • Science
    Scientist have used ordinary fishing line and sewing thread to create artificial muscles. With possible applications including robotics and prostheses, they're 100 times more powerful than human muscles of the same size.
  • Science
    A team of scientists from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has demonstrated a robotic muscle with 1,000 times more power than that of a human's, and which has the ability to catapult items 50 times its own weight.