Monday Musings – Piezoelectronics

Happy Monday, Sci Fi fans! I’m sorry to post so late, but I’ve spent the entire weekend embroiled in last minute editing (getting ready for a book coach meeting tomorrow), and I’ve just finished. But, better late then never, so jump past the break for the second ever Monday Musings, all about Piezoelectronics – which is already a real thing! Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter! You’ll stay up-to-date about everything going on with the novel and website, as well as receive exclusive content and offers – like 25% off when Steel Souls, Book 1 releases!

At its most basic level, the study of piezoelectricity is the study of electric charge that accumulates in certain materials in response to physical pressure. In my book, I use the term to describe the way the muscles work in humanity’s mechanical bodies. What’s the connection there?

Well, I actually came across the concept in relation to piezoelectric actuators. These are amazing little things you can already purchase several places. As the name suggests, they can be used anywhere a normal actuator can be used: automatic beds and wheelchairs, height adjustable furniture, reliable and precise movement in heavy machinery and manufacturing, automating manual electrical systems, and … wait for it … robotics!

In fact, since piezoelectric actuators are smaller and more precise than their electric-motor-driven counterparts, they can be even better in robotics. The problem is that they don’t traditionally stack very well because each strand of piezoelectric material is attached to a large circuit board, so it’s tough to get them to perform heavier tasks within the space confines of a robot. However, imagine if you could get rid of that circuit board and string a bunch of those strands beside each other! You’d end up with a bunch of tendrils wrapped around a rigid skeleton. Remind you of anything? 100 points if you said muscles! That’s what I pictured when I imagined the muscles powering my characters.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle! Cheers!

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