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These Origami-Inspired 'Muscles' Can Lift 1,000 Times Their Own Weight

Researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology created special muscles for soft robots.

These Origami-Inspired 'Muscles' Can Lift 1,000 Times Their Own Weight
Shuguang Li / Wyss Institute at Harvard University
SMS

Researchers created origami-inspired muscles that can lift 1,000 times their own weight.

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University teamed up to build artificial muscles for soft robots. They're made of a skeleton and a flexible skin, and they move using either water or air-pressure systems.

The skeleton can be made with a variety of materials, from silicone rubber to stainless steel. The muscles can also move in several ways and serve different functions.

Researchers think the muscles could be used in medical devices, robotics and even space exploration.

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But the super-strong muscles have some shortcomings. The Verge points out the inner structure can't be changed, which means the way they move is basically permanent.

Still, many origami patterns fold in multiple ways, enabling a range of motion.

Origami has inspired other useful things. In March, NASA unveiled PUFFER, a folding robot designed to eventually help rovers explore tight terrain.

And in February, Brigham Young University unveiled a folding, bulletproof police shield inspired by an origami pattern.