Latest Technology Is an Artificial Muscle – Meshworm

Cutting Edge

Latest Technology Is an Artificial Muscle – Meshworm

If you like keeping up with the latest technology, than this bit of future tech should have you more than a little baffled. Researchers working together from a variety of tech universities have come up with one of the creepiest inventions in the latest technology, unless of course, you like worms. The Meshworm is a soft autonomous robot that can contract, reshape its body and move in a similar manner to an earthworm.

meshworm - latest technolgoy

Latest Technology- The Meshworm

The researchers at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul University have worked together to create what is quite possibly the creepiest future tech ever invented. The Meshworm is a soft robot that uses artificial muscles to move through space in the same manner as an earthworm.

The team worked together with the Pentagons Darpa research unit to create a soft robot that can change its shape, is quiet and impervious to falls and blows. As the latest technology, this robotic worm is more than a bit impressive.

Says Sangbae Kim (one of the makers of the Meshworm), “The Robot may be useful for navigating rough terrain and squeezing through tight spaces.”

And with the Meshworms unique, shape changing abilities similar to that of a worm; it’s highly possible that this bit of future tech will be used for just that.

How the Meshworm Works

Fans of weird science, the latest gadgets and the latest technology, don’t expect to make this one at home yourself.

The meshworm consists of a complicated Nickel Titanium mesh body, that while seemingly hard to make, is extremely simple considering that it’s the latest technology to be considered as something worthwhile.

Nickel and titanium, when combined at a precise mixture, will produce a thin, flexible material that was used in the meshworm to create a net or mesh of wires running over its polymer body.  Nickel and titanium are known to stretch and contract when exposed to heat, which makes the material perfect for creating an artificial muscle.

The team, consisting of Sangbae Kim, Esther and Harold E. Edgerton, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, Sangok Seok and postdoc Cagdas Denizel Onal at MIT, associate professor Robert J. Wood at Harvard, assistant professor Kyu-Jin Cho PhD ’07 of Seoul National University, and Daniela Rus, professor of computer science and engineering and director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), based the meshworm off of the movements of earthworms and sea cucumbers using a peristalsis-system.

Uses for This Latest Technology Feat

While the Meshworm was developed with DARPA, a government defense association, others say that the development of this artificial muscle technology could be used for a great deal more than reconnaissance missions. Kellar Autumn, Professor of Biology, suggests that within the next few years, we might see this latest technology being used in artificial limbs and prosthetics.

“Even though the robot’s body is much simpler than a real worm — it has only a few segments — it appears to have quite impressive performance,” Says Autumn “I predict that in the next decade we will see shape-changing artificial muscles in many products, such as mobile phones, portable computers and automobiles.”

Scientists involved in the team subjected the meshworm to a series of tests, dropping it, stepping on it and even hitting it with a very impressive sledgehammer. The Meshworm was not affected at all and continued to crawl along at its pace of o.2 inches per second. Now that’s impressive future technology!

 

DARPA, the government team that rings suspiciously similar to television series Lost ‘Darma’ is also responsible for the funding of multiple other animal inspired robotics. These include speed based inventions after the Cheetah, micro aircraft to be used for reconnaissance and a dog-like robot intended to carry gear.

If you’re a fan of the latest technology, you can check out these cool gadgets as gifts or just to have fun on your own! The latest technology includes everything from robots for your desk to digital pens that type while you write!

 

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