Attack of the Flying Tentacled Robots

Call me crazy, but if the folks who came up with flying robots got together with the people who’ve invented tentacled robots, they could potentially take over the world. Or at the very least have a pretty interesting sci-fi flick on their hands.

Robotic "tentacles" that can grasp and grapple with a wide variety of objects have been developed by US researchers.

Most robots rely on mechanical gripping jaws that have difficulty grabbing large or irregularly shaped objects. Replacing these with tentacle-like manipulators could make robots more nimble and flexible, say the scientists.

The tentacle-like manipulators, known as "Octarms", resemble an octopus’s limb or an elephant’s trunk. They were developed through a project called OCTOR (sOft robotiC manipulaTORs), which involves several US universities and is funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

"An elephant’s trunk can pick up a peanut or a tree trunk," says Ian Walker, a member of the project team from Clemson University in South Carolina. "This ability, inherent in the OCTOR robots, gives OCTOR arms a huge advantage over conventional industrial robots." 

Would it be a case of science fact catching up wth science fiction? 

Maybe. Just maybe.

But the question remains, once we have tentacled flying robots … what do we do with them?