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Creepy Tentacle Robot Can Carefully Grasp Fragile Objects

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Written by Jonathan Berisford | October 27, 2022

Because what good is a robotic gripper if it breaks everything it touches, researchers at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a robotic gripper that can carefully grasp and pick up objects with its creepily long tentacles. Just imagine that thing slithering up your pant leg!

Drawing inspiration from nature (specifically octopuses and jellyfish), the SEAS researchers created a soft gripper that uses thin tentacles to “entangle and ensnare object, similar to how jellyfish collect stunned prey.” A rather unsettling image when applied to robotics. The tentacles are powered by air alone and don’t require any sensing, planning, or feedback control to operate. The individual pneumatic tentacles contract when air is removed, causing them to curl up and grab any objects they run into. Again, unsettling.

Fine, but if these things make their way to the doctor’s office, you can count me out. I can’t help but play with all the equipment after the nurse leaves, and I’m waiting for the doctor; there’s no telling what sort of trouble I’ll get into with one of these. I really don’t want to have to change doctors again.

[via adafruit]