Artificial muscles that can power prostheses and other medical devices without having to use traditional motors, hydraulics, or actuators, and this may allow for new product designs and functional capabilities. Attempts to create such artificial muscles led to technologies that had limitations, including a short working life, insufficient power, and low efficiency. Now researchers at University of British Columbia are reporting in journal Science the development of a new artificial muscle, made from the same polyethylene polymer fibers used in fishing line and nylon, that is extremely powerful, long lasting, and can compress to half its starting size.
The new artificial muscles, activated by applying heat, are over 100 times as strong as human muscle of the same volume and generate 5.3 kilowatts of work per kilogram of mass. It is envisioned that a heating element attached to the artificial muscles can be used to activate their function in prostheses and other devices. Here’s a video of forceps being powered by the new artificial muscles:
Study in Science: Artificial Muscles from Fishing Line and Sewing Thread…
(hat tip: Gizmodo)