Twisted fibers make low-cost artificial muscle to be used in robotics, prosthetics

Microscope image of twisted nylon fibers--Courtesy of Seyed Mohammad Mirvakili/UBC

Using fibers found in fishing line and sewing thread, scientists created an artificial muscle that can lift weights 100 times heavier than what a similarly sized human muscle can pick up. The researchers at the University of British Columbia published a study in the journal Science demonstrating that the tiny polyethylene and nylon fibers twisted tightly together form an artificial muscle that the scientists can control by contracting and relaxing with changes in temperature. By manipulating the temperature with electrical heat, the system could someday be used in robots or prosthetics at a relatively low cost and with high degrees of operability. Report | Abstract

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