Metal Muscles

Researchers at North Carolina State University are using nickel-titanium shape memory alloys to create a new generation of remote-control flyers

Thom Loree - June 01, 2010


No longer mere curiosities, nickel-titanium shape memory alloys (SMAs) are being used in industrial applications, such as in bridges in earthquake-prone regions (as discussed in our December 2009 issue), while, at the research level, scientists continue to explore their potential in new – and sometimes strange – ways.

Case in point: researchers at North Carolina State University are using SMAs to develop robotic bats which, thanks to their maneuverability, should be able to perform search-and-rescue functions in collapsed buildings and other enclosed spaces.

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