Electric motors are used to transform electrical energy into physical motion, and usually require hardware and rigid electronics. However, the Biomimetics Laboratory at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, led by Iain Anderson is creating new technology through biomimicry: the imitation of natural systems to solve problems.
Some of the new technologies they are developing use dielectric elastomer artificial muscles, to produce rotary motion in flat motors, to store electricity like a traditional capacitor, and also to provide an alternative to conventional diodes.
Ruth Beran goes to the University of Auckland to speak with Iain Anderson, Thomas McKay and Sam Schlatter to find out more about these artificial muscles and what they are capable of. To watch a video of the energy generating elastomers they have created, click here.