In its quest to create Robots with muscles working just like humans, researchers from the University of Michigan have developed a chain of particles which expands and contracts when it is electrically stimulated much like a human muscle.
Michael Solomon, chemical engineering professor, said “We are inspired by ideas of microscopic robots. They could work together and go places that have never been possible before.”
Solomon’s team showed that gold plating could be used to conduct a field of AC current which will encourage the particle chain to develop.
Professor of Chemical Engineering, Sharon Glotzer explains, “What’s really important in the field of nanotechnology right now is not just assembling into structures, but assembling into structures that can change or shape-shift.”
These particles can form short chains of overlapping pairs when left on their own. Each chain averages 50 to 60 particles and on being exposed to an electrical field of alternating current, they expanded and contracted when the field was removed, much akin to the working of a human muscle fiber.
Glotzer continues “We want them to work like little muscles. You could imagine many of these fibers lining up with the field and producing locomotion by expanding and contracting.”