Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Making a Muscle

PostedMay 23, 2018

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LEDE: Engineers are making artificial muscles that could repair or replace damaged muscle in people, or be used in various other applications like robots.

Randy Atkins: A muscle’s building blocks are molecular motors made of protein called myocin. It comes in many different types that combine for specific functions inside the body…and now, potentially, in human-engineered devices. 

Jonathan Cagan: These applications are not only feasible but, as we’ve demonstrated, they really are doable and we can create novel configurations using the computer.

Randy Atkins: Jon Cagan, a mechanical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University, is working in collaboration with a colleague there, biomechanical engineer Phil LeDuc who says their method is actually well-tried.

Philip LeDuc: We took an approach where Jon does computational design that usually is applied to things like automobiles or architecture and we decided, hey, we can apply this to biology.

Randy Atkins: The result may one day allow engineers to make better muscles, with new uses. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.