New Clothing Could Soon Turn All Of Us Into SUPERHEROS



Three Teams developed Artificial Muscle that could make Exoskeleton Suits that could change they way things are done in the work force and in everyday life. The possibilities for this new technology is limitless.


Artificial Muscle Creation

Artificial muscles have been developed by three different teams and these new muscles can lift up to 1000 times their own weight, which is bordering superhuman strength! The teams hope that their new creation could one day be used in prosthetic limbs, robots, exoskeletons, and even in clothing.

The basic principle behind all three teams’ work is the same. They have each developed their product based on the idea that a coiled-up substance can stretch like a muscle. Twisting up simple, thin materials can create a muscle-like structure and can lift a considerable amount of weight, even when the material is something as thin as sewing thread or fishing line.

The Three Teams

The idea for this coiled-up artificial muscle first appeared when it was developed by Ray Baughman and his colleagues at the University of Texas. Using their research into the coiled-up sewing thread and fishing line, they extrapolated the idea to replicate the results, just with stronger materials. Now, Baughman and his team have developed stronger fibers, using relatively cheap materials such as bamboo and silk. They are now twisted into a coil and coated with a sheath that can respond to heat or electrochemical changes. This has the ability to trigger the resulting muscle to contract and move, just as the brain sends electrochemical signals to a human muscle when it needs it to move.

Baughman and his team hope that their materials can one day be used in smart clothing that responds to the weather. For example, in another experiment, they knitted the fibers into a textile that was able to respond to moisture by becoming more porous. Something like that could become more open and let air flow through, or become tighter and more insulating, all based on the temperature.

The second team is from the University of Bordeaux. Jinkai Yuan and his colleagues created their fibers using a polymer and graphene. Graphene is an incredibly strong material which has been hitting headlines recently as a material stronger than diamond. The third and final team is made of Mehmet Kanik and his colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and they took a bit of a different approach. They opted to create a material that would coil spontaneously, like the tendrils of a cucumber plant. They tested the muscle in a miniature artificial bicep based on a human arm, which lifts a weight when heat is applied. All three methods worked well and are extremely viable options.



Future

While it does currently look very promising with the huge advancements being made by all three teams, there are still a number of issues that need to be ironed out before these muscles can be released to the public. One of these problems is efficiency. The muscles do work but in a controlled laboratory environment and these engineers still have a long way to go to make artificial muscles as efficient as human ones. At the moment, only about 3 percent of the energy being put into the artificial muscles is actually being used by the fibers, while the rest is just lost as heat.

This is one the largest problems the creators are facing right now and once this issue has been resolved, there doesn't seem to be much else stopping them. These artificial muscles, and many others like them, will be released and could potentially offer cheap, discrete, and slimline alternatives to the bulky electric motors that are being used to power things such as robots, electronic limbs, and so much more. The future does look promising for these teams and their artificial muscles.

Source: www.newscientist.com/...


 

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