For the last Movie Gadget Friday Josie Fraser checked out the Machine from Contact, for this week's installment she looks at the evil, robotic tentacles from Spider-Man 2 :
What's been missing from this series so far? That's right! Nowhere near enough prosthetics. And what better remedy
for that than Doc Ock's evil robotic tentacles. Thank you Mr, Sam Raimi!
Nuclear Physicist Dr. Octavius (Kenneth Halliwell) builds himself the additional upper body limbs, not to replace the perfectly serviceable ones that he already has, but to enable him to manipulate a new kind of energy generator which holds the promise of allowing American to stop having to look like it's really busy every time someone mentions the Kyoto Treaty.
The mechanical tentacles are thought controlled and designed to manipulate materials that the human body couldnt
cope with, like extreme heat and, er, magnetism. Theyre very flexible, strong, and capable of some kind of visual
recognition. And for some reason Octavius has given them artificial intelligence (so they can surprise him with a nice
cup of tea from time to time?), but to prevent them from actually taking over his brain he inserts an inhibitor chip
in his spinal cord.
Unfortunately, during the demonstration his pro-greed generator malfunctions, and in the CGI-madness that inevitably follows, his wonderful wife dies a horrible death. The inhibitor chip melts, and the tentacles evil nano-probes are quick to take control of Octavious, transforming him in to the not-very-cyborg-sounding Dr Octopus.
The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), who are Dr. Octopus to the US Department of Defences Oscorp, have already kindly come up with thought controlled arms for monkeys who regular limbs are too busy with, you know, bananas and stuff.
Real world solutions to creating mind-controlled limbs mostly involve suspending/supporting them directly from the skeleton, which is a similar principle to that used in the movie. Instead of giving these limbs artificial intelligence (and of course, making them evil to boot) and using an inhibitor chip to prevent the limbs from taking over the host, its generally thought to be much easier to just load the appendages with receivers which can be activated by electrodes implanted onto the brain.
Alternatively, if stuffing monkey brains fit to burst with chips isnt your thing, theres always the TentacleTM, a cost-effective robotic manipulator that resembles tentacles found in nature but with much greater extensibility.