New Year’s workout resolutions won’t help; you’re physically obsolete. Researchers have developed robotic “muscles” that are 1,000 times stronger than human beings.
Scientists at UC Berkeley have produced muscles for robots using a material called vanadium oxide that’s more commonly used within cameras, data storage, and missile guidance systems. The material becomes stronger when it’s heated, so the researchers add an electrical current or simply warm it up to produce the effect.
The muscles are more formally known as micro bimorph coils; a research article published on Dec. 19th explains how the coils work in greater detail. The coils function as torsional muscle that offer “superior performance in power density and speed over the motors and actuators now used in integrated micro-systems,” project leader Junqiao Wu said in a press statement. The real world implication is that a juiced up robot muscle can throw objects 50 times heavier than itself over a distance of five times its length - within a matter of milliseconds. Multiple muscles can be combined for added function and power, like the human neuromuscular system.
Watch here for some more information about the research (the article isn't free):
I wrote how it was becoming feasible to build a “Terminator” style robots in October when the U.S. military began testing self-driving, self-shooting robotic vehicles. This invention takes that concept one step closer to reality. Drones are also becoming more self-aware using advanced AI to become autonomous. Cloud computing, like Skynet in the movies, delivers greater intelligence to any single unit.
The shape-shifting T-1000 is much further down the horizon. MIT scientists have created modular robotic cubes that can self-assemble into many combinations. Algorithms guide the M-block robots to identify each other and coalesce into patterns such as a chair, ladder, or desk. MIT believes that miniaturized “microbots” could one day compose a “liquid metal” android like the T-1000. Now, those microbots might one day have powerful micromuscles.
My New Year’s resolution: find a way to become indispensable to the robots.
(image credit: Wikipedia Commons)