The dynamic mad scientist duo of Yen-Wen Lu and Chang-Jin "CJ" Kim at UCLA's Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department have reportedly developed the world's smallest robotic hand, measuring just about a millimeter across the fist -- thankfully, small enough not to crush either one of them during testing. The hand's made up of tiny silicon microfingers with polymer-balloon joints, which can be inflated and deflated to open and close with the utmost delicacy. The use of pneumatic operation, as opposed to electrical, also allows the hand to be operated in a wider range of environments, including liquid -- like snapping up a single fish egg in the pic at the right. Robot hands are one thing, but sooner or later you can bet that it'll be attached to a tiny robot body and sent on a not-so-Fantastic Voyage into someone's intestines.

[Via Slashdot]

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Researchers develop world's smallest robotic hand