Robot makers have long sought to replace the puny electric motors and heavy hydraulic actuators that drive most of their machines with something more musclelike. One possibility is shape memory alloys, metals that contract when an electric current heats them to a certain temperature and return to their original shape as they cool. But such alloys switch shapes slowly, making them hard to use as artificial muscles. Mechanical engineers Stephen Mascaro of North Dakota State University and Harry Asada of MIT have a potential solution: fluid-filled tubes containing wires made of a shape memory alloy. The fluid speeds the alloy’s cooling, so it changes shape in only .15 seconds-more than an order of magnitude faster than previous systems. Asada hopes to use the networks to replace the electric motors used for seat and mirror adjustments in cars, but eventually the technology could bulk up robots with lifelike muscles.
Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build
“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”
ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it
The narrative around cheating students doesn’t tell the whole story. Meet the teachers who think generative AI could actually make learning better.
Meet the people who use Notion to plan their whole lives
The workplace tool’s appeal extends far beyond organizing work projects. Many users find it’s just as useful for managing their free time.
Learning to code isn’t enough
Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.
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