New Use for Fishing Line: Artificial Muscles

Forget lures, rods, and reels: most anglers know that fishing line may very well be the most important piece of equipment. And if scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have anything to say, fishing line may prove to be just as important off the water, too.Turns out that researchers have figured out a way to build a better robot, and it's all thanks to polymer fiber, a.k.a. fishing line.Here's how it works. If you twist high-strength fishing line enough, it eventually coils. Add a little heat to the coil and voilà! You're able to contract and extract the line, creating a kind of muscle that will lift or drop anything the line is attached to. How much can it lift? Try loads 100 times heavier than human muscles of the same length and weight.

If you're confused, don't worry, the video below will help you out.

So why is this such a big deal? This new discovery opens up the possibility for better and more mobile robots, prosthetics, and "superhuman exoskeletons," according to the scientists involved. Perhaps the best part is that because it's just fishing line - sewing thread works, too, by the way - it's inexpensive, meaning we may actually see real-world application with this discovery beyond the theoretical.The study and its implications are rather encouraging, until you realize that this just means we're one step closer to robot world domination. Think about that next time you go to tie a lure on.Click here to read the full reports from UT Dallas.

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