Sunday, March 22, 2009

Artificial Muscle Molto Strong, Tough

Cyberdyne muscles (http://i.gizmodo.com/5176213/these-carbon-nanotube-muscles-are-30-times-stronger-than-human-muscles) are getting closer...

This is one of those breakthroughs that will require more breakthroughs before we can use it to full effect in a human being - imagine a muscle ten times stronger and a thousand times faster responding, attached to your relatively brittle skeleton...  So certain amounts of skeleton modification will also be needed.  I think I mentioned this problem way back in the archives section of the blog, how replacing muscles would snap skeleton bones.

The less obvious problem will be in the relearning process - imagine a muscle that *snaps* to the new position a thousand times faster than your original muscle did - your nervous system wouldn't be able to cope, and before you'd had a chance to realise that the muscle had started moving, it would have arrived, overshot the mark, and kept going to the point of twisting a limb right off.  Or smacking yourself in the head.  So nerves (which conduct at relatively low speeds, which is why reflexes are such slow things) would need to be replaced.

A robot powered by this, on the other hand, would be able to move with lightning speed, precision, and reflexes...  Making this best suited to robotics for the time being.  But bear in mind that I've also predicted that it won't be long now before we can transfer an entire human "mind" like software, so the robot may not be as dumb as planned...

This is, then, a really great advance, providing us with a new technology for medicine and robotics, but it will need a lot of supporting technology to make it applicable to medicine.

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