Researchers have coated normal fabric with an electroactive material, and in this way given it the ability to actuate in the same way as muscle fibres. The technology opens new opportunities to design “textile muscles” that could, for example, be incorporated into clothes, making it easier for people with disabilities to move.
The study, which has been carried out by researchers at Linköping University and the University of Borås in Sweden, has been published in Science Advances.
Developments in robot technology and prostheses have been rapid, due to technological breakthroughs. For example, devices known as “exoskeletons” that act as an external skeleton and muscles have been developed to reinforce a person’s own mobility.
“Enormous and impressive advances have been made in the development of exoskeletons, which now enable people with disabilities to walk again. But the existing technology looks like rigid robotic suits. It is our dream to create exoskeletons that are similar to items of clothing, such as “running tights” that you can wear under your normal clothes. Such device could make it easier for older persons and those with impaired mobility to walk,” says Edwin Jager, associate professor at Division of Sensor and Actuator Systems, Linköping University.
Advantages of lightweight and flexible fabrics
Current exoskeletons are driven by motors or pressurised air and develop power in this way. In the new study, the researchers have instead used the advantages provided by lightweight and flexible fabrics, and developed what can be described as “textile muscles”. The researchers have used mass-producible fabric and coated it with an electroactive material. It is in this special coating that the force in the textile muscles arises. A low voltage applied to the fabric causes the electroactive material to change volume, causing the yarn or fibres to increase in length. The properties of the textile are controlled by its woven or knitted structure. Researchers can exploit this principle, depending on how the textile is to be used.
The article: Knitting and weaving artificial muscles, Ali Maziz, Alessandro Concas, Alexandre Khaldi, Jonas Stålhand, Nils-Krister Persson, Edwin W.H. Jager, Science Advances, published online 25 January 2017, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1600327
“If we weave the fabric, for example, we can design it to produce a high force. In this case, the extension of the fabric is the same as that of the individual threads. But what happens is that the force developed is much higher when the threads are connected in parallel in the weave. This is the same as in our muscles. Alternatively, we can use an extremely stretchable knitted structure in order to increase the effective extension,” says Nils-Krister Persson, associate professor in the Smart Textiles Initiative at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås.
Integrating textile muscles into items of clothing
The researchers show in the article that the textile muscles can be used in a simple robot device to lift a small weight. They demonstrate that the technology enables new ways to design and manufacture devices known as “actuators”, which – like motors and biological muscles – can exert a force.
“Our approach may make it possible in the long term to manufacture actuators in a simple way and hopefully at a reasonable cost by using already existing textile production technologies. What’s more interesting, however, is that it may open completely new applications in the future, such as integrating textile muscles into items of clothing,” says Edwin Jager.
Learn more: “Knitted muscles” provide power
Receive an email update when we add a new EXOSKELETON article.
The Latest on: Textile muscles
via Google News
The Latest on: Textile muscles
- The Focus Is Now On Technical Textiles And Meeting The Industry’s Machine And Technology Needs: Minister Smriti Iranion April 8, 2021 at 5:25 am
The textile industry is looking beyond the simple cloth and expanding to sectors like technical textiles, said Irani.
- La Passione launches new Grace collectionon April 8, 2021 at 4:23 am
The bib shorts are in Italian high-quality Lycra and have seamless bands made of Sensitive coupled textile. The central supporting structure ... In the legs, a high elastic band improves muscle ...
- Shape Memory Material Market Size Forecast to Reach $23.3 Billion by 2026on April 6, 2021 at 10:35 pm
Furthermore, the growing use of muscle wires in space missions, textile electronics, arterial stints, robotics, orthodontic braces, eyeglasses, and even magic tricks is also boosting the Shape Memory ...
- 'Silent revolution': Myanmar workers strike to force junta's handon April 4, 2021 at 6:53 am
Bank employees, doctors, engineers, customs officers, dockers, railway staff and textile workers have all downed tools as part of a civil disobedience movement. Some striking workers are among the ...
- How to love your laundryon April 3, 2021 at 5:03 pm
Patric has dedicated years to the study and conservation of textiles. His mission? To make laundry not just faster, cheaper and kinder to the environment but more fun, too. In fact, if you do your ...
- Plasma Coating Process Produces Multifunctional Medical-Grade Textileson March 30, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Textile electrodes also may be used in electrostimulation products ... Switzerland), which manufactures muscle stimulation devices.
- Real-time sweat analysis with wearable microfluidic sensorson March 29, 2021 at 4:57 am
(Nanowerk Spotlight) Smart watches, fitness trackers, electronic textiles, and skin sensor patches are all ... "An epidermal patch could for instance track the hydration level and oxygenation of ...
- Microfibers Extrusion: The Foundation for Biotextileson March 28, 2021 at 5:00 pm
The next generation of implantable, textile-based medical devices requires the latest ... The regeneration of some tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, nerves and muscles require cell alignment on one ...
- Plastic bags recycled into fabric to fight pollutionon March 15, 2021 at 9:48 am
Polythene is a ubiquitous plastic, found in everything from plastic bags to food packaging. The new textiles have potential uses in sports wear, and even high-end fashion, according to US researchers.
via Bing News