Fluidic Muscle

Have you ever imagined making Iron man's suit or a robotic arm or leg which acts very similar if we compare it to human actions or maybe helping disabled by creating a artificial body part which can be operated explicit?

Fluidic muscle is one of the revolutionary invention to solve these problem. Fluidic muscle is a pneumatic actuator work on basis of electronic or mechanical signal to perform a task in a controlled manner. We can say that it is a more a bio-mechanical actuator as it is flexible just like our muscles. It was developed in late 1950's and the purpose was to create aid for polio paralyzed patients. It was developed by Dr. Joseph Laws Mckibben.

Fig. 1: A fluidic muscle.

How it Works?

Fluidic muscle is very much impersonates the motion of natural muscle. It is a contraction actuator. Fluidic muscle is made up of materials which can stretch and shrink just like a rubber, it looks like a hollow pipe. Imagine a rubber pipe with one closed end(also without any leakage), when we provide it with pressurized air from the open end,what will happen? It will expand, right? This is how this actuator works, when we provide with high pressure air it expands along the diameter which results in length contraction. Now what happens mechanically is when a internal pressure is applied, the actuator expands along its circumference creating a tensile force which results in contraction of actuators length. If need it in actual position simply release the pressure.

In the image below represents its functioning

Fig. 2: Working of Fluidic Muscle.

Lets look at some of the machines made up of fluidic muscle. BionicSoftHand by FESTO.

FESTO developed a bionic hand which can perform multiple action which needs to be performed with extra sensitiveness or tough works, it includes holding, touching, turning, typing or pressing(Basically the task we perform with our hands). They achieved it by integrating AI into the systems. Sensors read the requirement and sends data to the controllers it performs the back-end calculations and directs the actuator how to complete the task.

Fig. 3: Bionic Hand by FESTO

Airic's Arm by FESTO

Inspired by human arms, with help of mechatronics FESTO developed another engineering marvel which can perform sequential motion .

Fig. 4: Airic's Arm.

Inventors have developed and are developing various wearables which you can wear and perform difficult tasks easily. You can create hand wearable for yourself to help you lifting weights or an arm which can copy your actions by combining it with electronics.

Fig. 5: A fluidic muscle actuator.

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