This futuristic muscle material could make robots more human

Robots With Muscles Controlled By Electricity
Robots With Muscles Controlled By Electricity

Ras Labs, a synthetics startup that is collaborating with the International Space Station, is testing smart materials that have muscle-like features. According to TechCrunch the materials are electroactive, which means they contract like living tissue when in contact with electric signals and they could be used to make robots feel more human.

The original creation of the material was due to an accidental mix of chemicals in a Virginia Tech lab, when Lenore Rasmussen used the wrong amount of ingredients and involuntarily created a jelly-like material that contracts and expands when in contact with electric current. A few years later the researcher started experimenting with the application of this material in robotic limbs and prosthetics.

Here is a video of a test run on a small amount of the smart material:

The applications for this material are not only relevant to their use on Earth. The material in fact could be used in space, where the environment is very hostile to life. This muscle-like substance in fact is being tested for how it behaves when exposed to radiations and the team hopes that it will be part of the NASA 2020 mission to Mars.

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Originally published