(June 22, 2015) The tiny tube circled an ant’s thorax, gently trapping the insect and demonstrating the utility of a microrobotic tentacle developed by Iowa State University engineers.
“Most robots use two fingers and to pick things up they have to squeeze,” said Jaeyoun (Jay) Kim, an Iowa State University associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. “But these tentacles wrap around very gently.”
And that makes them perfect hands and fingers for small robots designed to safely handle delicate objects.
The spiraling microrobotic tentacles are described in a research paper recently published in the journal Scientific Reports. Kim is the lead author. Co-authors are In-Ho Cho, an Iowa State assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering; and Jungwook Paek, who recently earned his Iowa State doctorate in electrical and computer engineering and is moving to post-doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.