Robotrunk Could Replace Humanoids’ Arms

Shinji Tutoru | | Inventions

Robotrunk jamming

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, MASSACHUSETTS, USA. Robotrunk is a 14-inch long robotic trunk that resembles the actual trunk of an elephant. An elephant’s trunk is considered as one of the strongest and the most versatile muscles in the animal kingdom. It was created to serve as a useful tool in different fields since it has the ability to act as a flexible arm when vacuum-packed.

The best part about the Robotrunk is that it can easily grab things that are twice its weight without slipping too easily. It is also a good alternative to expensive gadgets and tools because it is made of cheap parts that are readily available in stores. It can also be used for some search and rescue tasks because of its mechanical arm that can easily go through narrow holes and bends.

The Robotrunk was developed by Nadia Cheng and her group of researchers in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is basically an elastic membrane made of silicone that has been filled up with dry coffee grounds. It has a metal spring embedded in it which serves as the skeleton. It has 5 segments which are individually vacuum-controlled.

Another good use for the Robotrunk is for industrial robots or even for humanoids that need to work around people. Instead of using robotic hands and fingers that could actually be harmful to humans, it would be much safer to use this robotic trunk for robots.

Invention Robotrunk
Organization Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts, USA
Researcher Nadia Cheng & Colleagues
Field(s) Robotics, Automation, Jamming, Grippers
Further Information POPSCI