Demonstration of strength of an artificial muscle. Inspired by the folding power of origami, US researchers said November 27, 2017 they have crafted cheap, artificial muscles for robots that give them the power to lift up to 1,000 times their own weight. Photo: MIT CSAIL/Harvard Wyss Institute via AFP

Researchers funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have reportedly made a breakthrough in creating robot “muscles” that rely on hydraulics rather than electric motors to perform their activities.

Defense One writer Patrick Tucker says the development may allow future military robots to come in “softer, more cuddly, and stranger forms.”

Tucker says the partly DARPA-funded project included a team of researchers from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, along with scientists from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute.

“These muscles are strong – the researchers say their 2.6-gram robot muscle can lift a 3-kilogram object, like a ‘mallard duck lifting a car’ — and can shrink to 10 percent of their original size, all while using much less power than typical metal-and-circuit robots,” Tucker wrote.

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