Powerful artificial muscles

With the continuous development of artificial intelligence, robots can have a more and more intelligent “brain”. They can speak human words, do translation, write songs, and draw pictures, but their bodies are still ugly and rigid traditional mechanical appearances. It can’t match its intelligence upgrade at all. However, with the emergence of a special kind of artificial muscle, humanoid robots will be one step closer to their massive transformation.

A research team from Columbia University in the United States has used a special flexible material to successfully create extraordinary artificial muscles. Scientists have tested various application environments of artificial muscles in robot manufacturing. In these experiments, artificial muscles have shown superb elasticity. Through electric heating, it can expand to 9 times its own volume in an environment of 80°C. This synthetic muscle can lift objects 1,000 times its own weight, and the energy stored per unit mass of artificial muscle is 15 times that of natural muscle. The computer can control the automatic components to complete almost all the set actions, making it like a real human muscle to complete pushing, pulling, bending, twisting and lifting and other actions.

In order to make the artificial muscle achieve the triple characteristics of strong expansion, high pressure resistance and low density, the material used in this artificial muscle is a silicon rubber material, and the internal nano-microbubbles are distributed with ethanol, which will increase with the adjustment of temperature. elasticity. This makes artificial muscles not only have the elastic characteristics of other similar materials, but also can perform volume changes in a larger range. At the same time, the use of this material also makes artificial muscles easier to manufacture, lower cost, and the material itself is harmless to the environment and more environmentally friendly. This flexible material can be shaped by 3D printing to make various required connection structures. The artificial muscle is electrically connected with a thin resistance wire and a low power of 8 volts, and it can be driven to complete stretching and contraction, thereby driving the movement of the mechanical components connected to it.

The use of this artificial muscle can make soft robots, imitate the natural movement of living things, and can also perform sophisticated tasks. It has broad development prospects in many fields such as medical assistance.

The research team next plans to use other conductive materials to replace the resistance wire that connects the artificial muscle to speed up its motion response and increase its service life. At the same time, the research team will also cooperate with computer scientists to jointly develop an artificial intelligence system for this flexible muscle movement, so that it can learn to control artificial muscles, and this will become another milestone for humanoid robots to imitate human natural movements. In the future, steel-reinforced robots will not only have superior intelligence, but also have soft muscles, which will become more and more vital and affinity.