Here's the latest robot set to invade your nightmares/dystopian future: the robo-octopus tentacle.
Apparently, there are some scientists out there looking to build a real-deal robotic octopus. Obviously, having decent robotic tentacles will be a key part of that. The one they designed is soft enough to wrap around an object, but can also stiffen up enough to grip onto things. Here's how it works:
The tentacle itself is fashioned from a steel cable attached to set of more nylon cables all encased in a silicone skin. It's not totally clear how the tentacle can adjust its tumescence, but we know that using the nylon cables to manipulate the central steel cable, the tentacle can move snakelike around objects and stiffen enough to proved a solid grip.Once they put seven of these guys together, they'll be in business. They're hoping to have a full robotic octopus complete by 2013.