MIT & Harvard Create Affordable Artificial Muscles

MIT & Harvard Create Affordable Artificial Muscles

MIT`s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory created a strong and affordable artificial muscle in collaboration with Harvard`s Wyss Institute.

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MIT`s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have collaborated with Harvard`s Wyss Institute to create a strong and affordable artificial muscle.

Artificial muscles are materials that contract and expand the way muscle fibers do. These materials could potentially find application in the field of robotics, as well as the automobile and aviation industries. The invention could even be used to create robots that could possibly lift up to 1000 times their weight.

Artificial muscles have so far been quite expensive to produce. However, engineers have found a simple and affordable way to create an artificial muscle, as reported by MIT News. But how is it possible?

The researchers use an ordinary nylon fiber that is being shaped and heated, following specific procedures. It is quite simple, taking no more than 10 minutes, and using materials that cost around $1. The artificial muscle can mimic some of the bending motions that natural muscle tissues can perform.

Some polymer fiber materials, including highly oriented nylon, have an unusual property: “they shrink in length but expand in diameter”, when heated, as Seyed Mirvakili, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, told MIT News. Using this property, the researchers can make some linear actuator devices. Nevertheless, a mechanism like a pulley and a takeup reel should be used to turn the linear shrinking motion into bending. What the MIT team did differently was directly harnessing the motion without the use of extra mechanical part.

Additionally, the researchers found that the material can maintain its performance after at least 100,000 bending cycles, meaning it is a long-lived material.

The researchers explain it simply in the video.

More information about the project is available at the following link.

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