William, can you give us more specifics on your concerns about storing and generating a charge? The researchers acknowledge that electromechanical coupling is a challenge they haven't overcome yet. Or were you thinking of something else?
This is an interesting development that I had not read about previously. The possibility of a benefit to prostehtic systems could be a major breakthrough. The big challenge will be in the taking it to a real product from a laboratory showpiece. How long will it function and how stable is the material are two questions that pop into my mind, as well as the compatability with other materials. Aside from thet, the stored/generated charge aspect will probably add a real challenge to any serious implementation efforts.
You're welcome, Ann. I think anything there is material introduced that offers the possibility of greater strength in a mechanical way, the question would arise whether it can be used for medical purposes in humans. I have done some stories on new technologies in prosthetics and there have been a lot of breakthroughs. Same for technologies like exoskeletons to help people to walk. So if the potential is there, it would be great if it was explored. Still, it's impressive even for its intended use.
Elizabeth, thanks for your comments, those ideas are thought-provoking. There've been so many comments on health/medical/biological applications for this breakthrough that now I wonder if that's possible after all. It may or may not be, depending on the material itself.
Tool-maker and Ann, I can see both your points. On one hand, I think that's the whole idea behind technology like this--to make whatever it is meant to be applied to "better." On the other, while you're right, Ann, that this is not meant for biological systems, you point out yourself that it could be possible to combine both. Or perhaps this can be applied to a mechanical/electronic system that can be used to make a biological system better. In any case, a fascinating development, and hopefully it will improve either products or people in some way.
If their projections are even close to reality it could cause a new technical revolution. With a new, powerful, lightweight option; every electro-mechanical system may be subject to reevaluation. I can't wait to get my hands on this tech.
etmax, thanks & glad you liked it. Like I said to other commenters, this is currently aimed at machines not biosystems like people. But...it would sure be great for all kinds of medical and therapeutic apps. After some of the stuff I've reported on I sure would not be the one to say what isn't possible.
One of your best posts yet, this is truly exciting. It means it may soon be possible to create artificial limbs that don't make motor noises and run for a reasonable amount of time. I think all these ideas of making people stronger has serious pitfalls as the whole body has to handle the torque generated, but wind the power back and get 20-30 hours running from a wearable battery and some of the less fortunate amongst us can lead a normal life without turning heads all the time.
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