IIT Kanpur's SMSS Lab developed Bio-inspired Artificial Muscle, reinforcing Indian Space Technology
A team led by Prof. Bishakh Bhattacharya, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Kanpur's Smart Materials, Structures and Systems (SMSS) Lab have developed a Bio-inspired Artificial Muscle for Next-Generation Space Robots and Medical Prostheses.
As per the press release issued by IIT Kanpur, the development revolves around an innovative technique that involves shape memory alloy (SMA) based actuators. Reportedly, these advance actuators are at par with latest standards and needs, catering to the industrial demands for small, light weighted and non-magnetic actuators.
How will the development benefit different sectors?
The existing SMA actuators have limited scope in offering higher force or torque output due to the basic architectural design of the actuation mechanism. In an attempt to address this limitation, the SMSS Lab at IIT Kanpur has expanded the design space of the SMA actuator, ensuring about 70% enhanced muscle force output per unit weight.
Reportedly, it will result in the creation of a new class of Space Robots which will reinforce Indian Space Technology as well as increase the scope of biomedical application in the country. Other than this, the application of the new technique will reduce the cost of two-thirds of bio-medical devices and increase the affordability of high-performance systems like MRI scanners, CT scanners and surgical robots.
The technology will also enable the development of patient rooms with low maintenance and quieter operation. Additionally, it can also be utilized for industrial applications like HVAC flow control for smart buildings, and automobiles and maximising solar panel performance. Efficient turbine design for aircraft applications and automatic control of aircraft wing.
What are Shape-Memory Alloys?
Shape-memory alloys are metals that, even if they become deformed below a given temperature, will return to their original shape before deformation simply by being heated. Alloys with this unusual characteristic are used as functional materials in temperature sensors, actuators, and clamping fixtures.