Science

MIT Theorizes How To Make Better Muscles

Posted 8 Nov 2005 at 16:32 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

Current robotic artificial muscles are about 100 times slower than human muscles. MIT researchers have a theory that could boost speeds of artificial muscles to 1,000 times faster than human muscles! The new muscles have virtually no extra energy demands and have a simpler design. The artificial muscles actuate, or drive, via conjugated polymers. Conjugated polymers are polymers that can conduct and can carry an electric current like a wire as opposed to rubber or plastic that are insulators and non-conducting. Conjugated polymers can actuate on command if electrical charges can be sent to specific locations in the polymer chain in the form of a solitary wave called "solitons" (charge density waves). The polymer chains are naturally curled and so to relax the muscle, light of a specific frequency is shined on the conducting polymer causing it to straighten out (flex and bend).

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