Origami-inspired artificial muscles for super power

Researchers at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have created origami-inspired artificial muscles that make it possible to lift objects 1,000 times the weight of the body itself by air.

"This is a superpower robot, we are very surprised by strong actuator capabilities, we hope to have more functional weights than usual," said Daniela Rus from CSAIL.

Every artificial muscle consists of various materials. Air creates waves to drive the movement where the source of power is determined by shape and composition. One of the key aspects of these muscles is the arrangement of the overall folds of the structure.

Tinuku Origami-inspired artificial muscles for super power

"When creating a robot, one should always ask, 'Where is its intelligence and whether in the body or in the brain?' Incorporating intelligence into the body allows the potential of simplifying the algorithm to direct the robot to fit the goal," Rus said.

The team used materials from metal springs, foams to plastics and experimented in different shapes to create muscles to contract up to 10% of the original size where only air power sources. The researchers report to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Artificial muscles have an impressive endurance to produce six times more strength per unit area. Muscles weighing 2.6 grams lifting objects weighing 3 kilograms. Single muscle was built within 10 minutes using material for less than $1.

"Many of the robot applications are soft for human-centric, so of course it's important for security safeguards. We've built with sizes ranging from a few millimeters to a meter," said Daniel M. Vogt of the Wyss Institute.