Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology have developed artificial muscles using a three-dimensional (3D) printer and tiny actuators that convert energy into movement.
Dubbed GeometRy-based Actuators that Contract and Elongate (GRACE), the actuator membranes are made from a flexible resin and move like a human muscle. The artificial muscles are stronger and more flexible due to pleats in the membranes that fold and unfold.
The researchers tested an 8-gram actuator that was able to lift 8 kilograms.
They also created a robotic hand with a wrist by connecting 18 actuators of varying sizes.
The hand could bend its fingers, twist its palm, and rotate at the wrist when pressure was applied to the different actuator membranes.
Said Italian Institute of Technology's Corrado De Pascali, "We started from the traditional artificial muscle and developed a new class of artificial muscles made of a single monolithic component."
From New Scientist
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