Scientists have long sought to devise an artificial muscle as flexible as a human’s.
However, even the most advanced mechanical devices have not quite emulated the free movements of human muscles.
That is until a team of researchers at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science (KAIST) used liquid crystal and graphene composite fibers to develop an artificial muscle.
The researchers say the material is the closest to a human muscle created so far, explaining that the breakthrough could come from the composite.
“Artificial muscles that are actively being developed around the world have excellent physical properties in one or two criteria, but none have the various physical properties needed to function as practical artificial muscles,” said Sang-Wook Park, professor of science and engineering. some materials. at KAIST.
Under experimental conditions, the artificial muscle was able to lift a 1 kg dumbbell and demonstrated 17 times greater strength than a human muscle.
Emulate human muscle
The artificial muscle can contract in response to changes in temperature. The contraction emulates that of a human muscle, according to the researchers.
“When light or heat is applied, the aligned molecule structure begins to contract in an irregular way, resulting in movement,” said Juntae Kim, a researcher in Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST.
They applied the material to an artificial worm to see if it could wiggle like a real one.
The significant contraction allowed the artificial worm to wiggle just like a real one, but at three times the speed.
Park believes this invention could expand into robotics and other fields of technology.
“With this research as a starting point, the practical artificial muscle materials can be used in the robot industry and various wearable devices, and will also greatly contribute to non-face-to-face science and technology after the fourth industrial revolution,” he said park.
The research, “Human Muscle-Inspired Single-Fiber Actuator with Reversible Percolation,” was published in the journal Nature Technology.
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