Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have developed something we never thought would be possible. After all robots that have been designed so far to date have only been made to help in retrieval and mundane tasks such as painting and assembling. However the team at the University of California have designed a micro sized robotic muscle that is over 1,000 times stronger than an ordinary human muscle. The researchers have found that using a material called vanadium dioxide, that when the material is heated to 152.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 67 degrees Celsius the compound of the material changes. The change is from an insulator to conductive, giving the metal compound a massive amount of strength during the transition.
Once this compound has been changed, the muscle in the robot would be able to pick up and throw objects over 50 times heavier than the robot and also reach a distance of over five times the length of the robot. All this happens within 60 milliseconds, which is faster than the human eye can blink. The way to achieve the heating of the robot muscle is to use a tiny heat pad or by using an electrical current. Junqiao Wu, a Professor of Material Science and lead designer of the project had this to say about the break through;
“With its combination of power and multi-functionality, our micro-muscle shows great potential for applications that require a high level of functionality integration in a small space. Multiple micro-muscles can be assembled into a micro-robotic system that simulates an active neuromuscular system.”
For more information on this amazing discovery the Team at the University of California have published a paper in the Journal of Advanced Materials, which you can view here.
Here is a video showing the micro-muscle in action
Thanks to CNET for the information provided.
Image courtesy of ExtremeTech