Today’s Solutions: May 28, 2023

Science is always making advances to further help the lives of amputees, from providing more control over prosthetics, to creating lighter, more comfortable solutions. Some scientists even hope to allow amputees to regrow their own limbs one day!

While we wait for this possibility, a research group from the University of Freiburg has invented something equally incredible, synthetic muscles out of biological proteins. Previously this biomaterial has been used in other technological systems including molecular machines or made into polymers, though this latest project is a huge step forward in biotechnology.

A sustainable solution

With a thorough understanding of how human muscles are constructed, the team was able to design a system that was made up of natural fibrous protein. “Since it is derived from the naturally occurring protein elastin and is produced by us through biotechnological means, our material is marked by a high sustainability that is also relevant for technical applications,” explains Dr. Stefan Schiller who lead the project.

The ingenious system, with details published in Advanced Intelligent Systems, can contract and flex just like a working muscle. The next steps will include seeing how the biomaterial can be developed closer to a real-life muscle and combining this with studies to understand how to link up these fibers to the brain to allow for movement.

Source study: Advanced Intelligent Systems – ​​An Autonomous Chemically Fueled Artificial Protein Muscle

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