Maastricht Economic and social Research and  training centre on Innovation and Technology

Devil in the Data
When it comes to fully understanding intra-European mobility, we still have a surprisingly long way to go…

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All headlines
  • Facebook to exclude billions from European privacy laws
  • Plastic-eating enzyme holds promise in fighting pollution
  • New oil spill clean-up 'sponge' created from waste
  • Japan's rare-earth mineral deposit can supply the world for centuries
  • Cutting-edge microscope spies on living cells inside the body
  • How to bend and stretch a diamond
  • Feather-light artificial muscles lift 1000 times own weight
    Foldable artificial muscles can lift 1000 times their weight, be made in just 10 minutes and cost less than a dollar.

    Soft robots are getting better, but greater flexibility has a trade-off as softer materials are often weaker and less resilient than inflexible ones, limiting their use. But now researchers from Harvard University have created a 2.6-gram 'muscle' that can lift a 3-kilogram object - a weight to strength ratio equivalent to a newborn lifting a Land Rover.

    The origami-inspired robot looks a bit like a bag with many chambers, each filled with air or water. When a vacuum is applied, the fluid is sucked out, contracting the muscle and driving the motion.

    It can be made of a range of materials, and to test it in various forms the researchers used metal springs, packing foam and plastic sheets, among other things. The ability to use soft materials will allow the robot to directly but safely interact with humans in industrial settings, the team hopes.

    New Scientist / PNAS    November 27, 2017