Robotic Tentacle Manipulator
For delicate, dangerous work, the human hand can't be beat, but it can be blown off. Now the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has devised a way to make a robot hand that's nearly as nimble. Its Robotic Tentacle Manipulator is an octopus-like attachment that can fit onto many robotic platforms, giving the machines the ability to gently grip and precisely manipulate objects. Each 10-inch tentacle contains several motors that allow it to flex and bend like a snake, while touch-sensitive pressure sensors enable it to balance fragile objects, rotate doorknobs, or grab onto tree branches. Operators can add as many tentacles to the device as the mission demands.