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Hydrogels Can Be ‘Exercised’ To Grow. Another Step Toward ‘Soft’ Robots

Materials researchers use synthetic hydrogels which mimic the features of human muscles — they”re strong, soft, full of water, and resistant to fatigue. Now researchers have discovered they mimic human muscles in another way, writes technology_dude:
MIT researchers have found a way to give synthetic hydro gels human muscle characteristics: by taking the hyrdogels “to the gym”… The gym workout basically consisted of repeatedly stretching the material while in a water bath, [which] causes nanofibers to align “to produce a strong, soft, and hydrated material that resists breakdown or fatigue over thousands of repetitive movements,” Phys.org reports.
The hydrogels can also be 3D-printed into different shapes, and the researchers believe the materials could one day be used for sensitive biomedical implants like heart valves, cartilage replacements, and spinal disks — and for “soft robots.”

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