Researchers at the National Taiwan University are using onions to help design artificial muscles. These newly developed artificial muscles have been found to be more versatile than the “super strong” muscles developed by researchers in 2013 at the Berkeley Lab of the U.S. Department of Energy.
In a report published in the “Applied Physics Letters”, researchers have outlined how they have used gold to coat onion skins to develop artificial muscles. These artificial muscles can bend, are resilient and work just like human muscles. They expand and contract in various directions depending upon the voltage applied.
The researchers were not trying to use onion skins in particular to develop artificial muscles, but they discovered that the thin layer called the epidermis present in the onion was perfect for what they were trying to achieve. The lead researcher, Wen-Pin Shih said, “People have tried to use live muscle before. But then how to keep the muscle cells alive becomes a problem. We use vegetable cells because the cell walls provide muscle strength whether the cells are alive or not.”