With their hard, mechanical grippers, robots follow the "awkward monster" trope of movies and literature — you know, where the monster is so big and strong, its casual grip shatters teacups and other delicate items. Now researchers have tried to solve the problem by creating an inflatable robotic tentacle with a touch gentle enough to cradle a flower. The New Scientist has photos and a short video.
The tentacle is a tube made of flexible plastic, the New Scientist reported. Machinery pumps air into three channels in the tube. By pumping different amounts of air into the channels, the soft robo-limb is able to bend in different directions.
Besides handling more delicate jobs, inflatable robots could be safer helpers for humans because of their soft touch, as InnovationNewsDaily previously reported. They may also be able to grip doorknobs and perform other sophisticated movements while using less complex instructions than their mechanical cousins.
Source: New Scientist