NUS team creates muscles for robots

SINGAPORE - In 2013, a team of Singapore researchers from National University of Singapore discovered a "robotic muscle" which could pave the way for human-like robots.

Dr Adrian Koh, Assistant Professor from NUS' Faculty of Engineering elaborates on the "robotic muscle":

"For a thing to move, stretchability has to be a must. This material is known as artificial muscle. This material is highly promising to be used in future generations of robots."

"We asked the question what is the main difference between a robot and a human. And we came to the answer that human is made up of soft muscles but robot consists of hard muscles."

"So, this being a motivation, we begin to search for a material that could replicate the function of the human muscle."

The artificial muscle can stretch up to 5 times its original length and is capable of lifting 80 times its own weight.

"We can also imagine that in the future if robots were to become the pervasive device in the human life. The interaction between human and robot becomes important."

"Current robots which are hard and stiff will present danger in the interaction between human and robot. But if you have a robot which essentially consists of similar material as a human being, then the interaction becomes relatively safer."

Dr Koh also gives an estimation of when robots with these artificial muscles might meet the world:

"So I would say that the vision of realizing a portable, green robot is in the duration of up to ten years. That would be sort of a timeframe that we are looking at."

"If that becomes a reality, I would imagine that robots would be highly affordable, highly portable, and well, anyone can have a robot just like anyone has a laptop right now."

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