The term ‘biomimicry’ sort of goes hand-in-hand with wellness and calm. After all, biomimicry is often used to solve problems like employee satisfaction and productivity with calming, nature-based methods, such as bioluminscent lighting. But what about the other practical scenarios where a less-comforting solution is required?
There’s absolutely nothing comforting about this robotic tongue, as seen in the video above.
It was apparently inspired by an elephant trunk and is capable of grasping things by wrapping around them.
According to a recent Gizmodo article, researchers at the University of New South Wales designed this robo-gripper out of soft fabric that lifts objects securely without causing damage to them or their contents.
According to Gizmodo:
The gripper doesn’t have quite as many muscles as an elephant’s trunk—zero, to be exact—but instead relies on materials that change their structure from rigid to flexible as heating and cooling are applied, and by layering fabrics with different heat-sensitive properties, the artificial trunk can coil itself up.
The gripper also incorporates a real-time force sensor that’s 15 times more sensitive than previous applications of the technology, allowing the robot to know by feel alone when a gentle grasp is needed.
Humans, the article points out, tend to think of themselves as the apex of nature’s design, and therefore try to design robots modeled after themselves.
But there may very well be situations where a gripping device based on the more-flexible elephant trunk or snake would be more ideal than a less-flexible human hand.
The new gripper can coil itself in tight areas, making it a potential boon for situations like medical procedures or highly-technical manufacturing.