FIBER-BASED ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES BUILDING UP THE FUTURE
Our study on fiber-based artificial muscles recently was published in Science Magazine and highlighted on Cover in July 2019. The cover is about our thermally drawn, programmable fiber-based artificial muscle composed of a thermoplastic and elastomer bilayer lifting up a dumbbell (650 times of its own weight) attached to a 3D printed miniature prosthetic which inspired by the human arm. Fiber-muscles with bundled structures, arbitrary lengths, tunable dimensions from millimeters to microns, and piezoresistive feedback mechanism (self-aware) may be the key technology for the future of robotics and prosthetic.
Strain-programmable fiber-based artificial muscle
M. Kanik, S. Orguc, G. Varnavides, J. Kim, T. Benavides, D. Gonzalez, T. Akintilo, C. C. Tasan, A. P. Chandrakasan, Y. Fink, P. Anikeeva, Science, vol. 365, no. 6449, pp.145-150, July 2019.
Artificial muscles may accelerate the development of robotics, haptics, and prosthetics. Although advances in polymer-based actuators have delivered unprecedented strengths, producing these devices at scale with tunable dimensions remains a challenge. We applied a high-throughput iterative fiber-drawing technique to create strain-programmable artificial muscles with dimensions spanning three orders of magnitude. These fiber-based actuators are thermally and optically controllable, can lift more than 650 times their own weight, and withstand strains of >1000%. Integration of conductive nanowire meshes within these fiber-based muscles offers piezoresistive strain feedback and demonstrates long-term resilience across >10^5 deformation cycles. The scalable dimensions of these fiber-based actuators and their strength and responsiveness may extend their impact from engineering fields to biomedical applications.