A new tiny robot can lift a thousand times its own weight with artificial muscles

[view original post]

1000 times their weight

The artificial muscles are known as actuators- or more specifically- GeometRy-based Actuators that Contract and Elongate (GRACE). Pneumatic in nature, GRACE is driven by the influence of gas, or compressed air, and could lift up to 1000 times their weight. Upon combining 18 of these novel actuators, the researchers were able to create an 8-gram (0.01 pounds) robot hand which was capable of lifting up 8 kilograms (17 pounds).

And that’s not all. The new mathematical model behind the design allows for a novel level of flexibility too. The robot hand can bend its fingers and make realistic human movements when pressure is applied to the different actuator muscles. Up to now, resins of this kind were relatively stiff.

A novel pleated design for flexibility

GRACE is made from a 3D printed resin but what’s unusual about its design is that it is a pleated one. This means that when the muscles are inflated with gas, energy is then converted into movement, and the stretching and contraction results in high strength and flexibility for the fully three-dimensional devices printed using them.