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MIT Team Makes Breakthrough in Synthetic Muscle

AFP Relaxnews

First published: November 25, 2016, 6:04 PM IST | Updated: November 25, 2016
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MIT Team Makes Breakthrough in Synthetic Muscle
Breakthrough in artificial muscles made by MIT team. (Image: MIT news)

A group of engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a "simple and inexpensive" method for fabricating artificial muscle fibres, using ordinary nylon fibre.

Nylon itself is a thermoplastic material and two researchers at MIT have discovered that twisted coils of compressed nylon filament can be shaped and heated in such a way as to "mimic basic linear muscle activity," per MIT News.

Their breakthrough is of particular relevance to the duplication of bending motions typical to human fingers and limbs, and the use of nylon fibre makes such an achievement both inexpensive and long lasting, while pre-existing solutions have tended to be either one or the other.

Though the nomenclature calls to mind entire synthetic limbs, report co-author Professor Ian Hunter suggested more down-to-earth applications: snug-fitting clothing or footwear, self-adjusting catheters and other biomedical devices or, less immediately, adjustable vehicle panels that respond to speed and wind or solar panels that orient themselves towards the sun.

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