Scientists from two the USA's elite universities have pioneered a new method creating artificial muscles. The scientists have dubbed their discovery a "soft robot". It is a 2.6-gram "muscle" that looks like a small bag many water-filled compartments. It has been given amazing strength supporting it an origami-inspired structural framework. This allows the artificial muscle to lift an object that is 1,000 times its own weight. The New Scientist website said this weight-to-strength ratio is the equivalent a newborn baby lifting a large 4WD car. The ground-breaking discovery could greatly benefit many areas science, medicine, robotics and engineering.
The scientists are the Massachusetts Institute Technology and Harvard University. They are experts the field soft robotics. They said their new soft robot muscle can be made just 10 minutes and costs less than one dollar. Researcher, professor Robert Wood, hopes to create "softer" robots that are more similar to humans. He said: "Humans are normally soft and brittle compared to the big industrial robots that you might find an assembly line. The next step is to take this system and develop it a fully functional robot." Dr Daniela Rus explained that the robots could be like the human hand. They could be strong enough to grip any object firmly, while being soft and gentle.