A design student has created the geekiest prosthetic ever in form of a robot tentacle arm.
Kaylene Kau was a student in the University Of Washington’s Industrial Design Department tasked with the creation of an upper-limb prosthetic. The professor instructed students to push established boundaries, and boy, did Kau listen: her finished project was an amazing tentacle-like robotic arm.
In describing her work, Kau says she realized, “the prosthetic needed to be both flexible and adjustable in order to accommodate a variety of different grips.” The tip of the tentacle curls around objects to grip them, and Kau’s portfolio provides images of the arm gripping differently shaped and sized objects, such as newspapers, keys, and bottles.
The arm is powered by a motor, and has cables running through the top and bottom of the arm. To curl the arm, the motor winds the lower cable, allowing the upper cable to release and powering the curl of the tentacle. Reversing this process returns the arm to its relaxed, pointy state.
The loss of a limb is a terrible thing, but for me, a robotic tentacle arm might soften the blow a tiny bit.