A new twist on artificial ‘muscles’ for safer, softer robots

Engineers have developed a new soft, flexible device that makes robots move by expanding and contracting — just like a human muscle. To demonstrate their new device, called an actuator, the researchers used it to create a cylindrical, worm-like soft robot and an artificial bicep. In experiments, the cylindrical soft robot navigated the tight, hairpin curves of a narrow pipe-like environment, and the bicep was able to lift a 500-gram weight 5,000 times in a row without failing.