Lifelike Robots Are Now a Possibility Due to Synthetic Muscle Breakthrough


With the rise of artificial intelligence, it’s safe to say that robots will become the norm in the years to come. However, today’s robot designs are far from perfect, and that has much to do with creators seeking to incorporate life-like features into these mechanical beings.

To get an example of what future robots could look like, we only need to take a good look at the popular TV show, “Westworld.” It depicts a world where robots are very lifelike in their movement and communication. It’s quite difficult for most folks to tell the difference, and that’s exactly what researchers at Columbia Engineering have in mind.

Let’s bring ‘Westworld’ to the real world

According to a new report, scientists at the institution has created a 3D printed synthetic tissue that can mimic active muscle. The material can bend, pull, push, and twist, which is due to researchers using ethanol-dispensing micro-bubbles and silicon rubber.

Interestingly enough, the material is capable of carrying up to 1,000 times its own weight. This breakthrough could create powerful robots for use in manufacturing plants, and most important, robots that are lifelike.

Current synthetic muscle force robots to be tethered to external compressors, but what’s in work here could allow them to move around freely like humans. Having robots walking around in the same manner similar to their creators is super important because, in the future, researchers will need them to perform various tasks.

Imagine a world where robots are helping doctors to perform dangerous surgeries, or even assisting law enforcement to capture criminals without taking their lives. The technology we’re talking about here could make this future possible.

Tech relies a lot on 3D printing

We should point out that the team uses 3D printing to create the muscle, and from there, they electrically actuated the 3D printed artificial muscle using low-power (8V) and a thin resistive wire.

“We’ve been making great strides toward making robots minds, but robot bodies are still primitive,” said Hod Lipson, professor of mechanical engineering. “This is a big piece of the puzzle and, like biology, the new actuator can be shaped and reshaped a thousand ways. We’ve overcome one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots.”


The final step for natural human-like movement is to combine the technology with artificial intelligence that is capable of learning how to control the muscles.

If you weren’t a huge believer, then it’s time to get yourself together because our robot overlords are on the rise, and we’re the creators. At the end of the day, governments around the world will need to regulate these things before they get out of hand.

Make no mistake, with technology improving at such a rapid rate; there’s always the chance for a real-life Skynet. Or may I’m just getting ahead of myself, who knows.