Student wrestling with a robotic arm, 8 March 2005.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
High school senior Panna Felsen arm-wrestles an artificial arm built by a group of students at Virginia Tech. It's one of three arms she defeated during an international competition organized by Dr Yoseph Bar-Cohen, a senior researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. When he issued the challenge, Bar-Cohen wanted to jump-start research in electroactive polymers, also known as artificial muscles. He didn't expect to see the challenge fulfilled for at least a couple of decades. 'Given the technology we had in 1999, I thought it would take at least 20 years before we could do it,' said Bar-Cohen, who has been called the 'Artificial Muscle Man'. One of the robotic arms lasted almost 30 seconds against the 17-year-old San Diego student.