Monday, June 22, 2009

Amazing artificial muscle made from CNT

If half the claims in this article at IEEE Spectrum (actually from March, but I only discovered it a couple weeks ago) are true, we may be about to enter a new era of biomimetic robotics. In my robotics class last year, I learned that robots are usually quite weak for their size. To design a robot that can pick up another robot the same size and weight is still a difficult challenge. This invention may change that. The only thing is I can't see how the wine-rack explanation for how it works matches the claim of 220% dimensional change made in this video, unless they are referring to lateral dimensional change which doesn't seem to be very useful.

There must presumably be some more development work before they can be set to use, otherwise if it were me, I couldn't wait to try putting them into robotic arms and fingers and make a much more impressive demo.

Importantly this could be a good initial application for long nanotube fibers. In the video, those fibers look so much like space elevator cable sections!


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