Researchers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech (my alma mater!), led by Assistant Professor Michael Bartlett, have developed the Octa-Glove, a glove with octopus-like suckers on the fingers designed for firmly grasping objects underwater without requiring grip strength. That’s great news because my grip strength has always been lacking.
The glove features soft sucker-like membranes, which, when actuated, attach to objects much like an actual octopus’s tentacles without needing to apply any grip pressure. An array of micro-LIDAR optical proximity sensors detect just how far away an object is, and a microcontroller can activate or releases adhesion almost instantly. When reached for comment, Doctor Octopus says he wishes he’d thought of this.
The researchers envision the gloves being utilized in future underwater search and rescue missions, presumably rescuing mermaids from the evil grasp of Ursula. But will you be able to fight her organic suckers with robotic ones? Only time will tell, but I imagine Ariel is pretty worried about it.[via TechEBlog]