If the research being conducted at UC Berkeley is any indication of where robotics is headed, taking a punch from a robot could soon be akin to getting socked in the jaw by Superman. The Berkeley Lab is reporting that they have developed robot muscles that are 1,000 times the strength of the average human. This does not bode well for those of you prepping for the robopocalypse.
Berkeley's new robot "muscles" take advantage of the rare properties of vanadium dioxide, a compound that changes from an insulator to a conductive metal at 67 degrees Celsius. That transition yields an incredible amount of strength. According to Berkeley Labs, their robo-muscles are "...able to catapult objects 50 times heavier than itself over a distance five times its length within 60 milliseconds — faster than the blink of an eye."
That's some crazy strength right there. Not only do the folks at Berkeley Labs believe that their discovery will fuel the robo-limbs of the future, they also believe that their quick-reacting muscles could lead to a new line of energy-efficient electronics. The vanadium dioxide-fueled muscles have already proven themselves capable of expanding and contracting a million times over without breaking down, even when ramped up to a whopping 200,000 RPMs.
We recommend not angering our future robot overlords, or at least not letting any arguments with them come to blows.