From nano to macro: a groundbreakIng actuation technology for robotic systems


The long-term vision of the MAGNIFY project is to design and realize a new generation of artificial muscles for robotic systems, characterized by high force-to-weight ratio, high flexibility, fast reacting properties, and intrinsic rigidity tuning. The scientific and technological breakthrough consists in using billions of artificial molecular machines, organized in polymer electrospun nanofibers and controlled by electrical stimuli, to realize an artificial macroscopic muscle. Thanks to this bottomup methodology, the stimuli-controlled nanoscale movements of the collective molecular machines will be incrementally amplified up to the macro-scale in the artificial muscle. The breakthrough of the MAGNIFY project is certainly ambitious because it contains novel scientific and technological challenges in several scientific disciplines. The design of the artificial muscle from the nano-scale up to the macro-scale will be a concrete foundational breakthrough because it will establish an essential basis for a new kind of actuation technology and its future use in robotic systems, as never anticipated before. The MAGNIFY project is built upon the strong believe that interdisciplinarity is core to the development of artificial muscles. MAGNIFY requires experts at the different scales, namely, i) at the nano-scale: molecular/supramolecular chemists for the synthesis of molecular machines and their manipulation; ii) at the boundary between the nano- and the micro-scale: electrochemists, material/polymer scientists, mechanical/electrical engineers for the realization of the electrospun nanofibers and their electrical connections; iii) at the micro-scale and towards the macro-scale: mechanical/electrical engineers for the realization of the bundles of nanofibers; iv) at the macro-scale: roboticists for the realization and testing of prototypes of the new artificial muscle.

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Andrea Zucchelli

Unibo involved Department/s:
Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca Industriale su Meccanica Avanzata e Materiali
Dipartimento di Chimica "Giacomo Ciamician"
Dipartimento di Chimica Industriale "Toso Montanari"

Universiteit Of Groeningen Rijksuniversiteit Groningen-Faculty Gmw(Netherlands)

Other Participants:
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna (Italy)
Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (Italy)
C.N.R.S. Delegation Centre-Est (France)

Total Eu Contribution: Euro (EUR) 2.922.730,00
Project Duration in months: 48
Start Date: 01/10/2018
End Date: 30/09/2022

Cordis webpage
Project website

Industry, innovation and infrastructure This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

UE flag This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 801378