US Army to fund U-Texas artificial muscle for exoskeleton

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Tomexe

US Army to fund U-Texas artificial muscle for exoskeleton

Post by Tomexe » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:11 pm

www.foresight.org/nanodot/?p=2410
Nanotube yarn targeted for nanotechnology exoskeleton

Speigel Online reports that nanotechnology work at the University of Texas is leading toward a nanotech “exoskeleton” for military use:
Now the superpower’s military is hoping to profit from the findings of nanotechnologist Ray Baughman from the University of Texas. He has managed to develop chemically grown nanotubes, which are like tiny muscles. The microscopically tiny particles contract when an electrical voltage is applied and get their energy from a mini fuel cell, that runs on hydrogen and oxygen. The mini muscles are a hundred times stronger than human muscle tissue — and can be woven into a fabric that would contract when heated and go back to its original shape when cooled.

Newsweek reports that Baughman now has a grant from the Pentagon to develop an exoskeleton for the US army. It is hoped that a suit made out of this type of material could allow GIs to jump over high barriers and transport heavy objects quickly and over long distances. The soldiers would be protected by another nano product — a bullet-proof carbon fabric that would be a lot lighter and much stronger than the current bullet-proof vests.
Should be interesting for use in extreme sports as well. —Christine
Dont know if they can be made large enough to act like the myomers in Battletech/Mechwarrior but maybe like the Appleseed Orcs?

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Tachyon
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Post by Tachyon » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:23 pm

Sounds cool. I hope we don't have to wait long to see something developed.
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Post by Newton » Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:16 pm

We'll see. The Army has been playing off and on with powered exoskeletons for at least 25 years. Studies get funded, then they get defunded, depending on the administration's attitude toward the idea.

I know that this admin has been tossing lots of money at the concept for awhile now. Also, I notice that once again, carbon nanotubes raise their tiny little heads...^_^. These little constructs are becoming the WonderTool(TM) of current science. Lots of people are pinning their hopes on them. Just last night I saw a thing on the Science Channel about a paste made with nanotubes and impact-activated liquid to make flexible point-of-impact body armor.

There also is the space ribbon project, which involves spinning a ribbon of carbon nanotube material. It's the first step toward building an orbital elevator. They had successful first trials with the spinnerette machine a couple of years ago.

One of the freaky things about nanotubes is their numerous simultaneous properties. Yes, they're super-strong, and naturally align themselves due to their molecular structure. They're also very flexible, while being, essentially, the step beyond diamond. But here's the weird part - the carbon micro-lattices that make up nanotubes have the side effect of very easily conducting an electric charge. Because of this, one side effect (or benefit) to a nanotube-based space elevator is that an electric current would be generated by the nanotube fibers due to electromagnetic induction. In essence, we're talking about a single highly conductive wire nearly 300 miles long stretching from Earth to a station in geosynchronous orbit. The power generated by this thread would be enormous. With more than one it only increases the power output.

Conceivably, this induction effect could lead to a self-powering space elevator - an important little detail the show I was watching left out.

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Post by Tachyon » Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:27 pm

Space elevators show up in anime again and again. It's a fascinating idea. So much depends on a cost-effective method for getting people and goods into Earth orbit.
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Post by Nu Soard Graphite » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:02 am

Yeah, I saw a bunch of stuff about nano-tubes on the science channel the other day as well. That show 2057 had the bit about the space-elevator. Cool stuff.

I've heard that they had been working on the myomer muscle concept, but I had no idea that they had working models. Sweetness. One step closer to BGC!
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Roadie

Re: US Army to fund U-Texas artificial muscle for exoskeleton

Post by Roadie » Fri May 22, 2009 5:44 am

Hmm. This is interesting. I wonder if some success has been had - it's been a bit quiet lately on this sort of thing.

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