Tiny tentacles developed by researchers at Iowa State University can gently wrap around tiny, fragile objects without harming it.
The technology could be useful in microsurgery, robotic surgery as well as reproductive medicine. The tiny tentacles can curl itself into a circle with a radius of just 200 micrometers.
The tentacles are made out of tubes of PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane), a silicon-based organic polymer used in the production of contact lenses.
The tubes have a strategically positioned pump at the base and cap end, which helps the tubes curl when air is pumped in and out.
The curling device can be carefully controlled by regulating the air pressure within the tube.
The tiny tentacles ability to curl and the low force exerted is ideal for microsurgery, such as endovascular operations, a minimally invasive procedure which accesses the body via blood vessels.