Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists "Muscle" Sci-Fi Into Reality

Date:
June 11, 2002
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Artificial muscles may someday upstage the world heavyweights of wrestling in a championship arm-wrestling match. This science fiction scenario might become a reality as the current trend continues toward developing artificial muscles for robots that appear and behave like humans or animals.

Artificial muscles may someday upstage the world heavyweights of wrestling in a championship arm-wrestling match.

This science fiction scenario might become a reality as the current trend continues toward developing artificial muscles for robots that appear and behave like humans or animals. Scientists and engineers worldwide are focusing on biologically inspired technologies like artificial muscles and intelligence. In the future, insect-like robots might relieve their manufacturer's burden by packing themselves for shipping. Intelligent robots might read books aloud, discuss stock options and even replace dogs as man's best friend.

"My vision is that we may see one day either bionic people, namely individuals with artificial muscles, or robots that mimic biology," said Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen, senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Great Arm-Wrestling Challenge

Since 1996, Bar-Cohen has been both a mentor and promoter of technologies related to materials called electroactive polymers. Nicknamed "artificial muscles," these materials bend, stretch and contract like biological muscles when an electrical charge is applied to them.

To stimulate interest in electroactive polymers, Bar-Cohen posed an ongoing challenge three years ago to scientists and engineers worldwide. He wanted to see if anyone could develop a robotic arm driven by artificial muscles that could arm wrestle against a human and win. "This challenge requires tackling the problem on all its fronts-from fundamental science and engineering to robotic control and artificial intelligence," he said.

Although that challenge has not yet been met, scientists have made progress in finding ways to control a robotic arm. In addition, Bar-Cohen hopes to see technology that will combine artificial muscles with prosthetics and allow disabled people to perform physical tasks independently.

Scientists and engineers in at least 14 other countries have joined the effort to make effective electroactive polymers the activators of choice in future devices and mechanisms. One such activator is a dust wiper, reminiscent of a tiny windshield wiper, that can perform a variety of tasks, such as cleaning the solar panels of a spacecraft. The wiper may be included in a future space mission.

"The development of the dust wiper has been a very important milestone for the field of electroactive polymers, as it marked the first recognition of the capability of these materials to provide unique solutions that no other material or mechanism can," Bar-Cohen said.

Scientists may have produced results in laboratories, but a lot more work needs to be done before robots begin packing themselves for home delivery and dishing out stock tips during cocktail parties.

"My hopes are still high for this field, but my expectations of the development rate are more realistic," Bar-Cohen said. "The field has still to improve its infrastructure and obtain a better understanding of the material's behavior before devices can be created for the general public."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Scientists "Muscle" Sci-Fi Into Reality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020611071940.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2002, June 11). Scientists "Muscle" Sci-Fi Into Reality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020611071940.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Scientists "Muscle" Sci-Fi Into Reality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020611071940.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins