This polymer film is expanding and contracting like a muscle, and looks pretty alive doing it, but the energy is coming from water vapor, not
black magic. Go figure.
Researchers at MIT hope to use the material's continuous motion to generate electricity for nanoelectronic devices, like tiny sensors, or as muscles
The material is made of two interlocking polymers. One lends structure, while the other swells like a sponge as it absorbs water. In a humid
environment, water droplets on a surface under the material cause the film to begin curling. As it moves, air dries the film making it stretch and
flip, which exposes it to the moist surface again.
Drawing power from humidity is advantageous because water vapor is ubiquitous and relatively easy to control in most environments, at least compared
to pH or temperature which have been used in similar experiments.
To generate electricity, the novel film would be combined with a special material that converts the mechanical energy in its movement to electric
It's not a coincidence that the film was developed at MIT's Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. The material, which is very early in
development, shows possibilities for biomedical work like targeted drug delivery or physiological monitoring.
This material changes its shape after absorbing tiny amounts of evaporated water, allowing it to repeatedly curl up and down. Harnessing this
continuous motion could drive robotic limbs or generate enough electricity to power micro- and nanoelectronic devices.
The film is made from an interlocking network of two different polymers. One of the polymers, polypyrrole, forms a hard but flexible matrix that
provides structural support. The other polymer, polyol-borate, is a soft gel that swells when it absorbs water.
Such films could act as either actuators (a type of motor) or generators. As an actuator, the material can be surprisingly powerful: The researchers
demonstrated that a 25-milligram film can lift a load of glass slides 380 times its own weight, or transport a load of silver wires 10 times its own
weight, by working as a potent water-powered "mini tractor." Using only water as an energy source, this film could replace the electricity-powered
actuators now used to control small robotic limbs.
what would be awesome if they could change it around to flex to a neural electrical signal
my thought is that maybe muscles inside of limbs could be replaced! in effect creating the perfect super person
since there would be no nerves to send pain to the brain they could use them all day without wearing down.
before you start saying what about bending outwards and inwards and other bends, well the muscles could be built in layers and have each layer
connected to a set of neural receptors so the movement and bends could feel fully normal to a person
in effect i think this would increase a person strength many folds then a normal human muscle any experts can to give input ?
edit on 15-1-2013
by MrDarkPhoenix because: (no reason given)
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