Scientists Create Super-Strong Micro 'Muscle'

Vanadium dioxide-based device is super fast, and the size of a microchip
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2013 1:50 PM CST
Scientists Create Super-Strong Micro 'Muscle'
A screenshot from an animation illustrating the muscle.   (YouTube)

A team of government scientists has created a microchip-sized robotic muscle capable of throwing objects 50 times heavier than itself a distance five times longer than its length in less than 60 milliseconds. The key to this wonder device is a material called vanadium dioxide, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory explains in a news release spotted by Raw Story. Researchers twisted a ribbon of the material into a coil that functions much like a torsional muscle. When heated, it becomes either a "micro-catapult" or a proximity sensor that can set off a "micro-explosion."

These two functions, when combined, simulate "living bodies where neurons sense and deliver stimuli to the muscles and the muscles provide motion," the project's leader explains. "Multiple micro-muscles can be assembled into a micro-robotic system that simulates an active neuromuscular system." Eventually, that could lead to powerful (dare we say super-powerful?) prosthetics or surgical devices. (Read more microchips stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.