One of the scientific animations Magipics has produced for the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute at Wollongong University is on the topic of artificial muscle.
This animation describes in a stylized manner how a nanofibre becomes super-coiled when twisted. This produces a fibre of exceptional strength which, under electric stimulation, can contract and lift heavy weights.
When incorporated into a fabric it can thus potentially function as artificial muscle, which could one day be used in prosthetics/artificial limbs, robotics and “exoskeleton” devices.
Animating the supercoiling step was a challenge in itself, which was solved using physics simulation.
The supercoiling has similarities with naturally occuring processes, such as the packaging of DNA in chromosomes. This is of personal interest, considering my own background in molecular biology.