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Soft Materials for Soft Actuators

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One Step Closer to Lifelike Robots

A self-contained soft actuator three times stronger than natural muscle, without the need of externals, signals a breakthrough in soft robotics.

The artificial muscle in use as a bicep lifts a skeleton’s arm to a 90 degree position.

Researchers at Columbia Engineering have solved a long-standing issue in the creation of untethered soft robots whose actions and movements can help mimic natural biological systems. Aslan Miriyev and Kenneth Stack, in the Creative Machines lab led by Hod Lipson, professor of mechanical engineering, have developed a 3D-printable synthetic soft muscle, a one-of-a-kind artificial active tissue with intrinsic expansion ability that does not require an external compressor or high voltage equipment as previous muscles required.

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