• A team of three material scientists at Iowa State University have just invented this new way for robots to softly handle delicate and diminutive objects. Their clever micro-tentacles make them the perfect tool for anything from microsurgery to microbiology.
  • The team built their micro-tentacles out of a cheap, naturally soft, and commercially available material called PDMS. They used the PDMS to form hollow tubes which curl up when the air is sucked out of them. One side of the tube is corked, while the other is connected to a pneumatic controller.
  • The team has shown that the micro-tentacles can easily pick up objects like ants or fish eggs without damaging them. The gentleness of the tentacles comes from not only the softness of the PDMS material but also the fact that the tentacles spread their pinching force across the entire tentacle.

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