Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a technique to create artificial muscle fibres using Carbon Nanotubes woven into a yarn a mere 2 microns thick. Each fibre has a strength equal to 100 times that of equivalent human muscle fibres. It is a expected that there will have revolutionary consequences for the prosthetic limb and robotics fields. I wonder whether the long-term outlook will be for elective muscular enhancement. Imagine having your strength augmented (invisibly) by 100 times. Just 10 times would probably create a such a sense of ease and well being, that it would be worth the money. Imagine all those who currently suffer from wasting or spastic muscleature.
I wonder if they would be able to attach these fibres to bones? What kind of control infrastructure would it take to control these fibres. I imagine that at human scales these muscles might have to be paired up with ceramic bones – I imagine bones might seem a bit more fragile when we have the possibility to exert these kinds of forces.
It appears that these yarns are not very elastic, and so can become slack over time. There are also problems of scaling these yarns up to human dimensions. Hopefully, these issues are not show stoppers – I would REALLY like to see this technology come to fruition.
Fig. 1. Nanotube Muscle Fibres
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