Artificial muscles made from polymers can now be powered by energy from glucose and oxygen, just like biological muscles. This advance may be a step on the way to implantable artificial muscles or autonomous microrobots powered by biomolecules in their surroundings.
The motion of our muscles is powered by energy that is released when glucose and oxygen take part in biochemical reactions. In a similar way, manufactured actuators can convert energy to motion, but the energy in this case comes from other sources, such as electricity. Scientists at Linköping University wanted to develop artificial muscles that act more like biological muscles. They have now, in a study published in the prestigious journal Advanced Materials, demonstrated the principle using artificial muscles powered by the same glucose and oxygen as our bodies use.
The researchers have used an electroactive polymer, polypyrrole, which changes volume when an electrical current is passed. The artificial muscle, known as a “polymer actuator”, consists of three layers: a thin membrane layer between two layers of electroactive polymer. This design has been used in the field for many years. It works by the material on one side of the membrane acquiring a positive electrical charge and ions being expelled, causing it to shrink. At the same time, the material on the other side acquires a negative electrical charge and ions are inserted, which causes the material to expand. The changes in volume cause the actuator to bend in one direction, in the same way that a muscle contracts.
No battery needed
The electrons that cause motion in artificial muscles normally come from an external source, such as a battery. But batteries suffer from several obvious drawbacks: they are usually heavy, and need to be charged regularly. The scientists behind the study decided instead to use the technology behind bioelectrodes, which can convert chemical energy into electrical energy with the aid of enzymes. They have used naturally occurring enzymes, integrating them into the polymer.
“These enzymes convert glucose and oxygen, in the same way as in the body, to produce the electrons required to power motion in an artificial muscle made from an electroactive polymer. No source of voltage is required: it’s enough simply to immerse the actuator into a solution of glucose in water”, says Edwin Jager, senior lecturer in Sensor and Actuator Systems, in the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Linköping University. Together with Anthony Turner, professor emeritus, he has led the study.
Just as in biological muscles, the glucose is directly converted to motion in the artificial muscles.
“When we had fully integrated enzymes on both sides of the actuator and it actually moved – well, it was just amazing”, says Jose Martinez, a member of the research group.
The next step for the researchers will be to control the biochemical reactions in the enzymes, such that the motion can be reversible for many cycles. They have already demonstrated that the motion is reversible, but they had to use a small trick to do so. Now they want to create a system that is even closer to a biological muscle. The researchers also want to test the concept using other actuators as the “textile muscle”, and apply it in microrobotics.
“Glucose is available in all organs of the body, and it’s a useful substance to start with. But it is possible to switch to other enzymes, which would enable the actuator to be used in, for example, autonomous microrobots for environmental monitoring in lakes. The advances we present here make it possible to power actuators with energy from substances in their natural surroundings”, says Edwin Jager.
Learn more: Artificial muscles powered by glucose
The Latest on: Artificial muscles
via Google News
The Latest on: Artificial muscles
- Do Archons Dream of Electric Qilin?on June 1, 2022 at 6:08 am
Some could only dream to calm down as quickly. The Archon War over the Teyvaticon solar system had been two centuries ago. Like the Archon and Adeptus series, most of Celestia Corporation androids had ...
- Self-sensing artificial muscle-based on liquid crystal elastomer and low-melting point alloyson May 26, 2022 at 4:00 am
Materials scientists and bioengineers at the intersection of regenerative medicine and bioinspired materials seek to develop shape-programmable artificial muscles with self-sensing capabilities for ...
- Canadians flex their M&A muscleson May 26, 2022 at 2:20 am
David Rowe The rise and rise of the Canadians in Australian capital markets is occurring at the same time as industry super funds are flexing their muscles in offshore markets ... a global leader in ...
- Best muscle recovery drinks and snacks to keep you on track with your workoutson May 21, 2022 at 12:15 am
Magnesium is great for muscle recovery and promotes relaxation ... 134 calories per pack but contain no added sugar, syrups or artificial sweeteners. Gluten-free and vegan-friendly the tasty ...
- Hannover Messe: Artificial muscles help robot vacuum manipulators get a gripon May 15, 2022 at 5:00 pm
The overall system features a number of ingenious novel developments in the field of robotics, including an articulated end effector that uses artificial muscles to enable the four fingers to move ...
- Artificial Muscles To Bring Relief To Robotic Tensenesson May 12, 2022 at 5:00 pm
If only we had artificial muscles. Artificial muscles are, by generally accepted definition, a device or material that can reversibly change its shape as a response to an external stimulus.
- New Ultrathin Artificial Muscle for Soft Robots Developedon May 11, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Researchers have developed an ultrathin, artificial muscle for soft robotics that allow for kinetic movements by combining a carbon-based 2D material and a synthetic polymer to create flexibility. A ...
- Self-driving microscopes discover shortcuts to new materialson May 9, 2022 at 11:50 am
ranging from computers and solar cells to artificial muscles and shape-memory materials. Their unique properties are tied to atomic structures and microstructures that can be observed with ...
- Build muscle at home with these 3 essential bodyweight exerciseson May 6, 2022 at 11:55 am
Thank you for signing up to T3. You will receive a verification email shortly. There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again. Building muscle is often associated with lifting heavy ...
- Taking A Stroll Down Uncanny Valley With The Artificial Muscle Robotic Armon May 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm
While the creators of the Artificial Muscles Robotic Arm are fairly quiet about how it works, perusing through the [Automaton Robotics] YouTube Channel does shed some light on the matter.
via Bing News