A Wrocław firm has created an innovative robotic arm powered by synthetic muscles based on water, giving it a full range of motion and the ability to lift heavy weights.
The brainchild of ‘Automaton Robotics’, a video of the arm at work shows it being able to lift a 7kg dumb-bell and acting like a real human arm, wiggling its fingers and clasping the weight.
The arm is the company’s first prototype and despite already acting like a real human arm, contains only half of the muscles of a real arm and is still missing the strongest muscle, responsible for the bending of the fingers.
The arm also has orientation sensors on every joint, which still need to be fully adapted for use.
Founded by Łukasz Koźlik the aim of the company is to create the world’s most advanced full scale humanoid robot, dubbed ‘Golem’, based on artificial muscles, which will be capable of carrying out chores like tidying up and cleaning.
The technology used by Koźlik to create the artificial muscles is based on technology presented by Joseph McKibben in his Air Muscles prototype in 1957, in which muscles contract when air pressure is applied.
However Koźlik has adapted this to base the muscle’s movement on water instead.
Koźlik began building the robot seven years ago in 2014 with the first prototype being based on a simple wooden construction made from wooden panels, strings and hinges.
But he quickly realised that using strings to control movement wasn’t enough as it didn’t produce authentic movements, leading Koźlik to understand that if he wanted to create a robot with human-like movements, he needed to take a closer look at human anatomy.