Monday, October 25, 2021

Robots with artificial muscles will not appear like robots in the future

Thanks to low-cost artificial muscles, robots may not appear like robots in the future.

humanoid robots
yangyang humanoid robot: weforum

Despite the fact that the Uncanny Valley theory suggests that humans reject robots that look too much like them, researchers have worked hard to produce aspects that make these robots look as human as possible, including skin, hair, and even movements and facial expressions. However, there is still a long way to go until a robot no longer looks like a robot and can blend in with a crowd.

With this in mind, MIT researchers have developed a synthetic muscle made of plastic nylon, which will allow us to create fake human tissues and hence create robots that appear remarkably similar to us.

Low-cost mass production is the key.

The concept of creating artificial muscles is not new; we've already seen several projects that rely on carbon nanotubes or various alloys that adapt to various shapes and designs. The issue here, however, is cost; all of these projects are expensive, and large-scale production is virtually impossible because few companies would be willing to pay for them.

This development is based on the idea of having something accessible, where they discovered that nylon fiber has unique characteristics capable of assisting in the manufacture of these muscles, because the key is that when heated, these fibers contract in length but expand in diameter, causing them to bend depending on the heat applied.

Due to the fact that the heat source can range from electrical resistance to chemical reactions and even laser, it is possible to control the amount of heat and the area of application, allowing one area to contract while the other remains fixed, as well as the fact that the heat source can be from an electrical resistance to chemical reactions and even laser, its applications are very broad and can serve in a variety of scenarios and contexts.

In the first tests, it was discovered that this fiber is surprisingly elastic, can last over 100,000 cycles, and can contract up to 17 times per second, making it an ideal material not only for robots, but also for industrial applications where materials that contract and adapt to a structure are required to reduce friction, such as airplanes or cars, clothing, and even self-adjusting catheters for insulin pumps. However, their primary focus thus far has been to develop biomimetic muscles for robots.

Article by Gerluxe

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