Doc Ock would be proud: US scientists funded by DARPA have created a tentacle-like arm:
Most robots rely on mechanical gripping jaws that have difficulty grabbing large or irregularly shaped objects. Replacing these with tentacle-like manipulators could make robots more nimble and flexible, say the scientists.
"An elephant's trunk can pick up a peanut or a tree trunk," says Ian Walker, a member of the project team from Clemson University in South Carolina. "This ability, inherent in the OCTOR robots, gives OCTOR arms a huge advantage over conventional industrial robots."
Just like a real tentacle, an Octarm simply wraps itself around an object in order to manoeuvre it. This allows it to grasp objects of various sizes and shapes and could let robots deal with unpredictable real-world situations, the researchers say.