Scientists create soft robotic tentacle that picks flowers, has us thumbing our collars

Okay, it's a little too late for Johnny 5's grass hopper, but thanks to new "gentle" robotic tentacles developed at Harvard University, future generations of insects could escape a similar demise. Researchers have created a new soft appendage made from flexible plastic, that uses three compartmentalized air channels to achieve a snake-like range of movement. The touch of the tentacle is so light, that it is able to pick flowers without damage. While suggested applications include working with fragile objects, or in hard to reach locations, the team also experimented by adding cameras, suction cups and -- most terrifyingly -- syringes to the tip. The only limitation, apparently, is that the air channels prevent it from being scaled down. So while our insect friends are safe from strangle-bot, we might not be so lucky.

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Scientists develop robotic tentacle that can pick flowers, make us thumb our collars