Incredible strength has traditionally been an attribute of most robots but now, researchers at UC Berkeley are working to make it a reality. They’ve created what is known as artificial muscles that could one day give robots 1000 times the strength of a human.

These robot muscles use special properties from a material known as vanadium dioxide which is a compound that can change from an insulator to a conductive metal at 67C. A side effect of the transformation, we’re told, is incredible strength – enough to move objects that are 50 times heavier than robotic muscles. What’s more, they can move objects up to five times further – all in the blink of an eye.

In laboratory testing, these muscles were able to survive repeated contractions (up to one million times) even when the speed of movements was driven up to 200,000 RPM. Scientists believe the breakthrough could lead to more powerful robots while the technology itself may be useful in creating more efficient electronics.

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