Hardware

Alcohol Powered Robot Muscles

Posted 4 May 2006 at 20:50 UTC by steve Share This

Fuel Cells powered by alcohol have been around for a while, offering one path to hard drinking robots like Bender. Now, researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas, have opened another route to liquor swilling robots with the development of an artificial muscle directly powered by alcohol. According to a ScienCentral story, researchers led by Ray Baughman coated shape memory wire with a special catalyst that reacts with alcohol and oxygen in the air to produce heat. Unlike normal metal which expands when heated, shape memory wire contracts. These metal muscles are said to be one hundred times stronger than biological muscle tissue. In addition to the obvious application of booze-swilling robots, the technology could also be used in prosthetic limbs, artificial hearts, and miltary exoskeletons. For more, see the UTD news release from earlier this year.

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