A team of scientists from the US Department of Energy ’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has demonstrated a new type of robotic muscle with 1,000 times more power than that of a human’s, and the ability to catapult an item 50 times its own weight.
The artificial muscle was constructed using the material vanadium dioxide, known for its ability to rapidly change size and shape. The team, working with a silicone substrate, formed a V-shaped ribbon comprising chromium and vanadium dioxide, which formed a coil when released from the substrate. The coil when heated turned into a micro-catapult with the ability to hurl objects, or a proximity sensor, in which its remote sensing of an object causes a rapid change or micro-explosion in the muscle’s resistance and shape, pushing the object away.
The micro-muscle shows great potential for applications that require a high level of functionality integration in a small space.
Read more from gizmag, December 23, 2013.