Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder have devised muscles for robots that have made them capable of detecting movements and help in the production of various range of low-cost materials. The new muscles are self-sensitive and can repair themselves from an electrical damage.
The robots with muscles like human can find widespread application in the near future as they can adapt to changing environments and are capable of interacting with humans. These soft devices can perform a range of duties including lifting and handling of delicate objects.
For a long time, the primary obstruction in the development of soft robotics has been the absence of actuators or muscles that are artificial and are versatile enough to do the jobs in reality. Hydraulically amplified self-healing electrostatic or HASEL actuators are capable of avoiding the bulky and rigid pistons and motors of a traditional robot, which helps it to obtain soft structures that goes beyond or at least meets the speed, strength, and efficiency that is required by a biological muscle. Its versatility can allow artificial muscles for human robots and a next generation of prosthetic limbs.
There are three different designs of HASEL actuators currently being developed. One of them is elastomer shell in the share of a donut and is filled with electrically insulated liquid such as canola oil. When in connected to a pair of opposing electrodes and voltage is applied, liquid can shift and drives the shape of the soft cover. When the tension is disconnected, the grip is released.