Strain-programmable fiber-based artificial muscle

Upon heating, a strain-programmable fiber-based artificial muscle lifts a dumbbell 650 times its own weight.


Artificial muscles may accelerate the development of robotics, haptics, and prosthetics. Although advances in polymer-based actuators have delivered unprecedented strengths, producing these devices at scale with tunable dimensions remains a challenge. We applied a high-throughput iterative fiber-drawing technique to create strain-programmable artificial muscles with dimensions spanning three orders of magnitude. These fiber-based actuators are thermally and optically controllable, can lift more than 650 times their own weight, and withstand strains of >1000%. Integration of conductive nanowire meshes within these fiber-based muscles offers piezoresistive strain feedback and demonstrates long-term resilience across >105 deformation cycles. The scalable dimensions of these fiber-based actuators and their strength and responsiveness may extend their impact from engineering fields to biomedical applications.

Mehmet Kanik
Senior Scientist on Advanced Materials, Impossible Foods
Sirma Orguc
Postdoc at MIT BCS (w/ Emery Brown)
Georgios Varnavides
Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Berkeley
Polina Anikeeva
Polina Anikeeva
Professor in Materials Science and Engineering
Professor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Associate Director, Research Laboratory of Electronics

My goal is to combine the current knowledge of biology and nanoelectronics to develop materials and devices for minimally invasive treatments for neurological and neuromuscular diseases.