This New Tiny Robot Can Lift A Thousand Times Its Own Weight – Using Artificial Muscles

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A team of researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology has come up with a new category of high-strength artificial muscles that can stretch and contract as a human muscle does. According to a recent research paper, these muscles emulate real muscle movements and are a huge leap in the development of three-dimensional functional devices such as artificial body parts.

The artificial muscles are called actuators or GeometRy-based Actuators that Contract and Elongate (GRACE). They are pneumatic in nature. GRACE is driven by the influence of gas, or compressed air, and could lift up to 1000 times their weight. By combining 18 of these novel actuators, the researchers created an 8-gram (0.01 pounds) robot hand which could lift up to 8 kilograms (17 pounds).

It will also have a great degree of flexibility. The robot hand can bend its fingers and make realistic human movements when pressure is applied to the different actuator muscles.

When the muscles are inflated with gas, energy is converted into movement. This stretching and contraction lead to high strength and flexibility for the fully three-dimensional devices printed using them.

The word that describes machines that emulate biological processes is biomimicry. There is a question that arises regarding this term: why are we looking to devise ways that will make the machines function like us?

To answer this, when we talk about artificial muscles, GRACE could prove to be vastly important for rehabilitation and the replacement of body parts after a loss. But how will the humanoids be explained now? This is probably unanswered till now and nobody knows why. The answer could be that we feel more comfortable around a heavy-weight giant humanoid simply because its familiarity brings about a sense of friendliness.

Whatever the reason might be, it is a great development in biomimetics. Its application to real social and environmental situations will soon be revealed.

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