29-Aug-2013 - Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

A flexible future for robotics

Scientists in the US have created smart materials that twist and coil in response to light, which could be used in the muscle systems of future robots to mimic the movements of living creatures.

The team produced a series of cantilevers made from azobenzene liquid crystal polymer networks that have movement, powered only by a change in the polarity and intensity of an external light source. The direction of the resulting torsional movement is partly controlled by the order within the material.

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