The Inquirer-Home

Robot soldiers will love a beer

I, Robot, fell off the wagon
Mon May 08 2006, 13:12
BOFFINS working on muscles for robots have powered their creations with alcohol.

The team of robot researchers at the University of Texas built artificial muscles that could do over a hundred times the work of a natural muscle, said head of the team, Ray Baughman.

And, while most artificial muscles are powered by electrickery, Baughman has used raw booze to get his muscles to contract and do the job your right arm's for.

The muscles are built out of an elastic metal called shape memory wire. Baughman explains that the material contracts when heated. The contraction, he says "is like the contraction of arm muscles in our body."

The shape memory wire is coated with a catalyst and alcohol added. The subsequent reaction with oxygen in the air causes the mixture to burn, heating the muscle until it contracts.

Baughman, who has been hired by the US military, envisages using the muscles in prosthetic limbs or artificial hearts or building an army of super-powered all-conquering androids.

"In a very distant future the humanoid robot who is sitting next to you in a bar might be drinking alcohol in order to work the next day," the scientist wittily suggested. µ

ScienCentral has video evidence


Share this:

blog comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to INQ newsletters

Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ

INQ Poll

Heartbleed bug discovered in OpenSSL

Have you reacted to Heartbleed?