If you were going to kick off a technological revolution, you’d be hard-pressed to do it with more pizazz than Tesla with its electric cars. Flashy, kinda-self-driving, neck-snappingly fast electric cars. But oddly enough, what’s driving it all-the electric motor-is an ancient technology at this point. It’s lost out to the gas engine for over a century, sure, but it’s finally begun to take over transportation, thanks to supporting roles from better batteries and fancy sensors.
But the electric motor is in the midst of launching a far bigger, far more subtle revolution-not in cars, but robots. Open up a robotic arm and you’ll find that its joints are actually electric motors, known as actuators. Actuators make robots leap and run and do backflips and lift 500-pound pipes (different robots, mind you, thank God).
The electric car? That’s impressive as hell, but just the beginning. It’s robots that are fueling the quiet ascendance of the electric motor.
Click to continue reading this article by WIRED.