artist's concept of arm wrestle between human and robotic arm
An artist's concept of electroactive polymers, nicknamed "artificial muscles." JPL/Carolina Martinez (818) 354-9382

A pioneer in the development of artificial muscles will share his vision of superhuman robotic explorers of the future in two free public lectures.

In his lectures, called "Electroactive Polymers as Artificial Muscles," Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will speak about artificial muscles that may enable biologically inspired robotics. The lectures will be held on Thursday, Feb. 21 at JPL and Friday, Feb. 22 at Pasadena City College.

Electroactive polymers, or artificial muscles, are lightweight strips of highly flexible plastic that bend or stretch and function similarly to biological muscles when subjected to electric voltage. Bar-Cohen is leading work on defining, developing and finding applications for artificial muscles. He and a small team of scientists and engineers at JPL, in cooperation with research centers worldwide, are working to turn such strips into grippers and strings that can grab and lift loads, among many other potential uses.

Recent developments in this field lead researchers to believe that the idea of a bionic man or woman may someday be possible. Bar-Cohen's lecture will provide an overview of current developments and discuss the future possibilities for the Electroactive polymer technology.

A Webcast of the lecture will be available at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21 at

ABoth lectures are open to the public and will start at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Thursday's lecture will be in JPL's von Karman Auditorium, located at 4800 Oak Grove Drive in Pasadena, off the Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway. Friday's lecture will be at the Pasadena City College Forum, located at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd.

For more information, call (818) 354-0112 or go to

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JPL/Carolina Martinez (818) 354-9382