We strive to make robots in our own likeness because, as far as we can tell, humans are best adapted to deal with our world. And thanks to researchers at MIT, who've found a way to use cheap, nylon plastic as an artificial muscle, we're now one step closer to creating artificial humans — and opulent fantasy theme parks.
Tagged With muscles
Using pneumatic pistons and servos to power robots makes them fast and strong, but also bulky and extremely heavy. No one is going to mistake ATLAS for a real human being. To eventually create humanoid-looking robots like the Terminator, we need to mechanically replicate every part of the human anatomy — starting with the muscles.
The world may be oohing and awing over all the wonderful uses we're finding for graphene, but there's another super-material vying for the spotlight. Vanadium dioxide might eventually become a household name because in addition to revolutionising electronics, researchers have now discovered it can be used as an artificial muscle 1000 times stronger than our own.
When delivered through a vibrating motor in a controller or smartphone, force feedback isn't particularly realistic. So researchers at Germany's Hasso Plattner Institute have developed a new system for smartphones that uses electrical muscle stimulation to physically move the player's hands and forearms in response to the action happening on screen.
It turns out the wet t-shirt-wearing girls riding those mechanical bulls at the local bar were actually exercising. No lie, as you can see with this Five Axis Core Muscle Trainer, ripped from the everlasting kitsch-ridden pages of Hammacher Schlemmer. The saddle tilts left and right, up and down, and throws in a few twists for good measure. All the while the motions target your "core muscles," which are worked as your body attempts to regain equilibrium. The whole idea of a rocking, jocking mechanical exercise bull for the home actually sounds kind of exciting, until you realise this piece of equipment was designed with the senior bull rider in mind. And yes, those are stirrups.
Gym bunnies amongst you might be interested in the Murphy Gym, a shallow cupboard full of the kind of equipment you need to look like a condom stuffed with walnuts—marbled walnuts if you are either a hunk of Kobe beef, or if you like popping S.T.E.Roids as if they were M&Ms. I'm also guessing that this little gym-in-a-closet might be appealing to pervy modders out there, who could swap the chest expander for something even more black and rubbery. And for those of you who like a nice bit of bedroom farce, this could be the cupboard that the really thin lover, clad in black polo neck and jeans, hides in when his lady friend's husband returns home from work early.