It also shows the enormous potential for small, artificial muscles
for a variety of uses, such as haptic feedback systems and active biomedical devices," said Il-Kwon Oh, lead paper author and professor of mechanical engineering.
Gray in color, the one meter long flexible device uses four artificial muscles
and compressed air to move in eight directions.
They are now collaborating with Koichi Suzumori's laboratory in Japan, which is developing fluid-driven artificial muscles
and flexible exoskeletons.
inside the robotic tail control its movement by contracting and expanding using an external pressurised air system that resembles a lawn mower or giant vacuum.
Now, researchers have found a way to imitate this coiling-and-pulling mechanism to produce contracting fibers that could be used as artificial muscles
for robots, prosthetic limbs, or other mechanical and biomedical applications.
Led by Professor of Robotics Jonathan Rossiter at University of Bristol, the "FREEHAB" project builds on discoveries from the previous "Right Trousers" project which saw the team develop new soft materials that could be used like artificial muscles
Not only can the artificial muscles
move in many ways, they do so with impressive resilience.
The suits also contain a computer and sensors that track body movement and instructs the artificial muscles
in the clothing when to activate.
Dielectric sensors show promise for use as tactile/pressure sensors and motion sensors that take advantage of this softness range of applications, and as "artificial muscles
" for robotics.
But if developed fully, future androids could have artificial muscles
to allow for more fluid, human-like movements.
In response, the team from MIT and Harvard was inspired by the paper-folding craft of origami to create artificial muscles
that can bend, fold and squeeze while providing plenty of heft for a variety of purposes.