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Rubbery artificial muscles promise to make robots more lifelike


Some robots may already look pretty lifelike, but it's still quite a different story when they're actually moving, when all the mechanical parts inside make themselves known with some unmistakable, robot-like movements. Some researchers at New Zealand's Auckland Bioengineering Institute now have one possible solution to that problem, however -- a motor with none of the usual moving parts. Instead, the rubbery, Cronenberg-esque contraption relies on some electroactive structures that can stretch by more than 300 percent, and expand and contract when a voltage is applied. While things are obviously still very early, it's conceivable that robots could eventually be built entirely out of these artificial muscles -- or, as lead researcher Dr. Iain Anderson succinctly puts it, "the future is soft." Video after the break.

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