Kanpur: the Smart Materials, Structures and Systems (SMSS) laboratory of the Indian Institute of Technology (ITI), Kanpur, has developed a bio-inspired artificial muscle for the next generation space robots and medical prostheses.
Encouraged by industry demand and growth in the field of miniature, lightweight and non-magnetic gearless actuators, shape memory alloy (SMA) based actuators have emerged with an excellent power-to-weight ratio as a suitable alternative to conventional actuators. actuators. However, existing ADM actuators have a limited range in terms of higher output force or torque due to the relatively simple architecture of the actuation mechanism. To address this limitation, the SMSS lab at IIT-Kanpur, inspired by Portescap CSR funding, expanded the design space of the SMA actuator by taking advantage of the characteristics of bi-pinnate muscle architecture with a muscle force production improved by approximately 70% per unit weight. . This will result in the creation of a new class of space robots that will enhance Indian space technology.
Professor Abhay Karandikar, Director of IIT Kanpur, said, “Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) based actuators are considered better alternatives to conventional actuators, although they have some limitations. This invention will not only lead to the development of next-generation space robots and medical prostheses, but will also help aviation and some other industries. In a way, this will contribute to making several sectors autonomous and more advanced in the long term. The primary purpose of an actuator is to generate mechanical output, such as force and displacement, by transforming electrical energy. Shape memory alloys are a class of smart materials that can restore their shape after being exposed to high temperatures. The interesting property of customizable multi-stage hierarchy of bio-inspired muscle design based on shape memory alloy will also encourage researchers in the field of bio-mechatronics to develop adaptive robotic prostheses for biomedical application in the country. This will significantly reduce (one third of the current cost) the cost of biomedical devices and increase the affordability of high performance systems like MRI scanner, CT to scan and surgical robots. The technology will also enable the development of patient rooms with low maintenance and quieter operation.