Synthetic fiber 'muscles' could lead to brawny robots and prosthetics


Most attempts at giving robots muscles tend to be heavy, slow or both. Scientists might finally have a solution that's both light and nimble, though. They've developed fibers that can serve as artificial muscles for robots while remaining light, responsive and powerful. They bonded two polymers with very different thermal expansion rates (a cyclic copolymer elastomer and a thermoplastic polyethylene) that reacts with a strong pulling force when subjected to even slight changes in heat. They're so strong that just one fiber can lift up to 650 times its weight, and response times can be measured in milliseconds.

The nerve: Tiny fibers give robots a new way to sense


Researchers in Switzerland have found a new way to make highly elastic fibers that can be embedded with sensing components to double as nerves in a robotic nervous system. The fibers, developed by scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), are built from elastomer, which make them extremely flexible. When combined with electrodes, the fibers become sophisticated sensors that can detect pressure and strain. The flexibility makes these sensors ideally suited for a number of non-traditional robot forms, including soft robots that mimic biological organisms. The process used to make the elastic fibers is identical to the thermal drawing technique used to produce optical fiber.

MIT builds low-cost synthetic muscles out of nylon cord


Researchers have been trying to build durable, low-cost synthetic muscles for years but to no avail. The systems developed so far have either been too expensive to produce en mass (like carbon nanotube) or too delicate and power hungry (looking at you, shape-memory alloys) to be useful outside of laboratory conditions. But a team from MIT have just struck upon the Goldilocks zone of robo-muscles with nylon fiber of all things. The secret, according to a report published Wednesday to the journal Advanced Materials, lies in how the fibers are shaped and heated. See, nylon fibers have this weird natural property that, when you heat them, they contract in length but expand in diameter.

Knowledge Discovery System For Fiber Reinforced Polymer Matrix Composite Laminate Artificial Intelligence

In this paper Knowledge Discovery System (KDS) is proposed and implemented for the extraction of knowledge-mean stiffness of a polymer composite material in which when fibers are placed at different orientations. Cosine amplitude method is implemented for retrieving compatible polymer matrix and reinforcement fiber which is coming under predicted fiber class, from the polymer and reinforcement database respectively, based on the design requirements. Fuzzy classification rules to classify fibers into short, medium and long fiber classes are derived based on the fiber length and the computed or derive critical length of fiber. Longitudinal and Transverse module of Polymer Matrix Composite consisting of seven layers with different fiber volume fractions and different fibers orientations at 0,15,30,45,60,75 and 90 degrees are analyzed through Rule-of Mixture material design model. The analysis results are represented in different graphical steps and have been measured with statistical parameters. This data mining application implemented here has focused the mechanical problems of material design and analysis. Therefore, this system is an expert decision support system for optimizing the materials performance for designing light-weight and strong, and cost effective polymer composite materials.

Chimp's aren't super strong compared to humans

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Since the 1920's, some researchers and studies have suggested that chimps are'super strong' compared to humans. These past studies implied that chimps' muscle fibers - the cells that make up muscles - are superior to humans'. But a new study has found that contrary to this belief, a chimp muscles' power output is just about 1.35 times higher than human muscle of similar size - a difference the researchers call'modest' compared with historical, popular accounts of chimp'super strength' being many times stronger than humans. When all factors were integrated in a computer model, chimp muscle produces about 1.35 times more dynamics force and power than human muscle Dr Brian Umberger, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a co-author of the study, said that the researchers found that this modest performance advantage wasn't actually due to strong muscle fibers found in chimpanzees compared to humans - but due to the different mix of muscle fibers found in chimpanzees compared to humans. According to the authors of the research, if the long-standing, untested assumption about chimpanzee's exceptional strength was true, it'would indicate a significant and previously unappreciated evolutionary shift in the force and/or power-producing capabilities of skeletal muscle' in either chimps or humans, whose lines diverged about 7 or 8 million years ago.