Artificial Muscles Are the Future of Robotics
A team of researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Suzumori Endo Robotics Laboratory have developed a humanoid robot with multifilament artificial muscles. Attached to a plastic skeleton, the robot’s muscles are designed to mimic human muscle movement. As the video at bottom reveals, they can already perform functions like kicking a ball or chewing a carrot. With the assistance of an auxiliary instrument, the robot can also walk.
In order to move, the robot functions with small fiber tubes which pump air or gas through them, allowing the artificial muscles to contract or expand. Controlled by electric current, these tubes are currently attached to a pressurized power source. The team hopes to ultimately make the robot battery powered, allowing the robot to roam freely.
As reported by Gizmodo, the robot is able to take steps using precisely the same number of muscles as a human being. But the Suzumori Endo Lab contends there is still much work to be done—especially if they want their robot to move like the country’s legendary gold medal-winning gymnast Kōhei Uchimura.
Watch the video below to learn more.
—Reilly Dowd, RealClearLife Contributor