by Joe Pinkstone, Daily Mail:
- Existing metallic robots may soon be replaced with a soft-shell version
- The robots can handle and move delicate objects without damaging them
- Researchers have developed an ‘artificial muscle’ which has superhuman speed
- The technology has the ability to self-heal itself if it gets damaged
Unlike current robots, Terminator-like droids of the future will be made with ‘artificial muscles’ that have the unique ability to repair any damage.
That’s according to researchers in Colorado who have created artificial muscles that are stronger, quicker and more efficient than biological muscle.
Despite having superhuman strength, they can also be used to handle delicate objects without damaging them.
Christoph Keplinger, senior author and assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said: ‘We draw our inspiration from the astonishing capabilities of biological muscle.’
The researchers have created three different devices to demonstrate the uses of their artificial muscles.
One iteration consists of a donut-shaped shell filled with an electrically insulating liquid (such as canola oil) and is hooked up to a pair of opposing electrodes.
When a voltage is applied through the electrodes, the electrically insulating liquid is displaced and changes the shape and structure of the surrounding membrane.
Previous attempts to use this technology had resulted in ‘catastrophic’ failure due to electrical damage.
The electrically insulating liquid used in this study has the ability to instantly regain its insulating properties and heal any damage caused by high voltage.
The scientists placed several of the artificial muscles opposite each other to achieve a gripping effect.
Another method sandwiches a layer of the special liquid between several layers of highly stretchable ionic conductors which expands and contracts upon electrical activation.
This method was used to lift a gallon of water and throw a baseball.
The use of a liquid insulating layer enables the muscle to self-heal when exposed to electrical damage.
Read More @ DailyMail.co.uk