Engineers often "spy" on the creations of nature. Recall at least artificial muscles created by scientists from the University of Linkoping: their development functioned on the same principle as the real muscles — using biochemical processing of glucose and oxygen. But American researchers were inspired... cucumbers.
During the growth of cucumber formed a long curly mustache. Their main task is to find support and "push" the plant up, so that it gets more sunlight and, as a result, developed better. This is the mechanism "winding and stretching" has inspired scientists from MIT to create robomusic. Experts have mastered the method of simulating the effect to create Contracting fibers, such as those that make up the real muscles.
For the creation of artificial muscles, the researchers used two kinds of polymers, each with their own coefficient of thermal expansion. When the "hybrid" is heated, one polymer begins to increase, and the other — to slow it down. As a result of this "struggle", the fiber is twisted. There is an effect of spring, the tension of which depends on the temperature: even the heat of the human body is enough to make the fiber begin to curl even more and with incredible pulling force.
The resulting fibers have a thickness of from a few micrometers to a few millimeters. The length of them can reach hundreds of meters. For additional functionality, “wires” can be woven into nanowires, electrodes or optical fibers. The material itself came out surprisingly durable: each "thread" can hold a weight 650 times higher than its own. As in the case of real muscles, the lifting power of the fibers increases if you combine them with each other. Pseudomuscles react to stimuli within a few milliseconds.
Where exactly will be used an unusual invention of employees of the Massachusetts Institute of technology — is still unknown.