radio-controlled model blimp
Swiss researcher Christa Jordi demonstrates a radio-controlled model blimp that is guided by artificial muscles. Image credit: NASA/JPL
Scientific researchers from around the world made a robotic fish swim, a synthetic flower bloom, and a giant metallic blimp fly using artificial muscles at the annual Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices Conference. Yoseph Bar-Cohen, with JPL's Advanced Technologies Group, chaired the conference, held this week in San Diego.

Artificial muscles -- or electroactive polymers -- are lightweight plastic strips that bend or stretch when connected to electricity. JPL scientists are exploring this emerging and innovative technology to develop “smart” devices that can grab, lift and move objects.

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