MIT Researchers Made Nylon Fiber Muscles That May Lead To ‘Westworld’ Hosts [Video]By Noi Ramirez, UniversityHerald Reporter
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineers have devised a new approach in creating artificial muscles made of nylon fiber.
MIT have created a new nylon-based artificial muscle that responds to stimuli through heating the element to "tell it" what to do. According to the report, various heat sources can be used to apply this heat. The nylon with special properties , shrink in length when it is heated but expands in diameter. By heating specific points of the special nylon in sequence, researchers found it can produce more complex movements much like our very own muscle does.
The heat source that causes the artificial muscle to respond can be anything, as the video defined, heat sources can be from electrical resistance, chemical reactions, or laser light. Doing so provides a wide range of settings and scales. Though this is not the first artificial muscle technology developed, MIT's findings are simple and low cost, according to TechCrunch.
According to MIT, Materials that contract and expand like muscle fibers can have many applications. They cite robotics, automotive and components for starters. The low-cost approach is promising in a sense that they came up with a material that bends and reproduces motions that natural muscle tissues perform using ordinary nylon fiber.
Accordingly, the secret, they say, lies in shaping and heating the element in a particular way for it to perform the results expected of it. In initial studies, using twisted nylon coils to mimic basic linear activity, they found that the material could, in fact, retract and expand further, and store more energy better than natural muscles. But bending motions have eluded them for some time as this has proven to be quite a challenge and expensive, until now.
For now, we rest assured that the nylon materials would be developed to more practical uses such as biomedical devices or grippers, but who knows. Maybe in the next decade or so, the materials are going to be used provide musculature to a western, space or any theme park where artificial intelligence would be used to animate the material.