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Gadget Freak Case #258: Memory Wire Muscles Actuate Biped

Gadget Freak Case #258: Memory Wire Muscles Actuate Biped

The prototype we are going to build shows one application of memory wire muscles. They are actuators, like stepper motors or servos, that can be much lighter, have a more organic movement, and are silent. Though they have some drawbacks (typically, their torque is not very high, and the typical on/off cycle is about one second), they are interesting actuators, and it is supposed that, in the not so distant future, they will be able to build artificial muscles with strength similar to their organic counterparts.

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are metals that change shape when heated over their activation temperature. They are malleable when cool, but when heated, they change shape and return to their default shape, which can be set by heating the wire far over its activation temperature.

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