The project, described in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, involved researchers from six countries. Baughman and colleagues, including the paper’s lead author, Carter Haines, also at the University of Texas at Dallas, focus on these artificial muscles for use in mechanical devices. But some researchers suggest that the work may hold clues for finding materials to use to repair damaged human muscles.

“I think this is neat,” says Thomas Webster, who heads the chemical engineering department at Northeastern University in Boston and focuses his research on using human-engineered materials as replacements for human tissue.

He cautions that to call the devices Baughman and colleagues produced “muscles” could mislead some people into thinking that a new tool for restoring damaged human muscles is at hand, which is not the case.