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From a seminar by Hugh Darrow, Spring 2009.
In the earliest iterations, artificial musculature technologies were crude patchwork of pistons, pneumatics and electric motors; but those systems have been surpassed by the creation of synthetic proxies that mimic the actual form and function of human tissue.
Known as EAP - that’s electro-active polymers - these artificial muscles are capable of linear movement of a type and scale ideally suited for cybernetic prosthetic limbs. The muscles of our bodies alter shape and form when electrochemical nerve signals flow through them, and EAPs operate the same way: when an electric change passes across that polymer’s structure, it changes shape.
The technologies we are developing at Darrow Industries focus on creating what we call a ‘fully plastic actuator’ mechanism. In basic terms, we have a three-part structure - a sandwich of gel layers made up of a matrix of dispersed single-walled carbon nanotubes, situated on either side of an ionic fluid pyroelectolyte core. Known as a ‘bucky gel’ structure, in references to the carbon Fullerene nanotubes, the design’s similar arrangement of soft electrodes and electrolyte layers is capable of operating at very low voltages.