A Flexible, Air-Filled Robot Tentacle With a Light Touch

80beatsBy Valerie RossSep 13, 2012 8:11 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

While robots have long been invaluable when it comes to doing all sorts of heavy lifting, they lack a gentle touch. Hefting around auto parts is easy enough, but transporting eggs or glassware poses a significant challenge. Scientists have now, however, made a flexible plastic robot tentacle that can, among other dexterities, pick flowers without crushing them, the latest of several robot appendages made of softer materials and able to accomplish delicate tasks. The researchers control the tentacle by pumping air through three separate channels, giving it a wide range of motion and letting it reconfigure to grasp a variety of objects without being limited by the shape of its grip. The parts for the bot---mostly elastomer tubing---cost less than $10, far cheaper than the complex components of many far less flexible robotic hands. To get a glimpse of the hand in action, watch it pick up a horseshoe in the clip below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=w8AX-d6ulkc

Image courtesy of Wiley

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.