Birth Of An Industry: Artificial Muscle Technology Leaps Ahead


Very cool development out of the Lone Star state where University of Texas at Dallas researchers have made an announcement. From the U.T. Dallas press release (Link):

University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) nanotechnologists have made alcohol- and hydrogen-powered artificial muscles that are 100 times stronger than natural muscles, able to do 100 times greater work per cycle and produce, at reduced strengths, larger contractions than natural muscles. Among other possibilities, these muscles could enable fuel-powered artificial limbs, “smart skins” and morphing structures for air and marine vehicles, autonomous robots having very long mission capabilities and smart sensors that detect and self-actuate to change the environment.

The new muscles simultaneously function as fuel cells and muscles, according to Baughman, corresponding author of the Science article.

Application opportunities, Baughman said, are diverse, and range from robots and morphing air vehicles to dynamic Braille displays and muscles powered by the fuel/air mixture delivered to an engine that are able to regulate this mixture.

The morphability of this material raises some very interesting possibilities.

Remember that virtual sensory idea I’d been bouncing around the inside of my skull and to which I alluded earlier (reLink)? This is exactly the kind of technology I kept dreaming about but was always having to work around. This stuff could pave the way to sensory suits (“SenSuits”) – body suits that are worn like a wetsuit and which transmit “touch” sensory data to the wearer’s skin via a morphable interior lining. This would create a significantly more immersive telepresence experience.

There is just not enough…

Major kudos to the people involved in this breakthrough. Amazing work. I wish society treated them the way it does movie stars and athletes.

via Robot Cafe

{Image source: U.T. Dallas}

2 thoughts on “Birth Of An Industry: Artificial Muscle Technology Leaps Ahead

  1. “I wish society treated them the way it does movie stars and athletes.”

    You want to read about their love lives and chemical dependency problems while in line at the grocery store?

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