It was four years back that a certain German engineering firm known as Festo thought up of a concept for a robotic arm. This particular idea of theirs seemed to be an amalgamation of an iron snake, a mechanical claw, as well as a tentacle straight out of a science fiction movie, where it is known as the Bionic Handling Assistant that functions closest to that of an elephant trunk. Well, from there, another question arose. What should a robot arm grab? It is time to look to nature for inspiration, as the scientists turned to babies.

No, the Bionic Handling Assistant does not go kidnapping babies, but it is capable of remembering movements that have been guided by a researcher beforehand, in a similar manner to that of how a baby will hold on to a parent’s finger, allowing his or her arm to be moved whenever the adult moves. Such programming behind the robotic trunk will “teach” it to remember positions that worked when it comes to grabbing.

Could we be looking at a neural-controlled Bionic Handling Assistant in the future? Hopefully by then, there would be no fusion accidents at the lab, otherwise we might end up with a real life Doctor Octopus instead.

Filed in Robots. Read more about Science.

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