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Diaries from the robot uprising

UT Dallas scientists create artificial muscles four times as strong as the human kind

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UTD Muscles
UTD scientists have helped the robot uprising by developing wax-infused yarns of nanotubes that have four times the strength-to-weight ratio of human muscles.  University of Texas at Dallas

When the robots take over, we can look back at the day University of Texas at Dallas revealed its new nanotube artificial muscles as the tipping point. We’ve lost the war before it even started.

As reported in Science magazine, UT Dallas scientists have developed wax-coated yarns of nanotubes that mimic muscles. The muscle-like nanotubes, small hollow cylinders made from graphite, have four times the power-to-weight ratio of organic tissue.

 Nanotubes are tremendously strong, able to lift more than 100,000 times their weight.

Nanotubes are tremendously strong, able to lift more than 100,000 times their weight. When the wax coating is heated up with light or electricity, the yarn expands, mimicking natural muscles.

In fact, this muscle contraction happens in 25 thousandths of a second, which we think is pretty quick, but we were told there would be no math.

So far UT Dallas scientists don’t think the artificial muscles will be implemented within the human body, but they do have applications in things like toys, microvalves and robots.

Robots, people. This is how it starts — and, consequently, how we end.

The next step will be to scale up the muscles beyond the single yarn into more complex systems. Like robot arms that rip human flesh without conscience. Or bend. Exciting times. 

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