A Tentacle That’s A Work Of Art

We all bring our own areas of expertise to our work when we build the projects that find their way in front of Hackaday writers, for instance a software developer brings clever brains to their microcontroller, or an electronic engineer might bring a well-designed piece of circuitry. [Yvo de Haas] is a mechanical engineer, and it’s pretty clear from his animatronic tentacle that he has used his expertise in that field to great effect.

If you think it looks familiar then some readers may recall that we saw a prototype model back in February at Hacker Hotel 2020. In those last weeks before the pandemic hit us with lockdowns and cancellations he’d assembled a very worthy proof of concept, and from what we can see from his write-up and the video below he’s used all the COVID time to great effect in the finished product. Back in February the control came via a pair of joysticks, we’re particularly interested to see his current use of a mini tentacle as a controller.

At its heart is a linkage of 3D-printed anti-parallelograms linked by gears, with cables holding the tension and controlling the movement of the tentacle from a set of winches. The design process is detailed from the start and makes a fascinating read, and with its gripper on the end we can’t wait for an event that goes ahead without cancellation at which we can see the tentacle for real.

If you’d like to see more of [Yvo]’s work, maybe you remember his wearable and functioning Pip-Boy, and his working Portal turret.

8 thoughts on “A Tentacle That’s A Work Of Art

  1. Really really pretty, little more beefing up and it might even become really really useful. 500g isn’t bad for small arms and it looks like it moves well, so could perhaps with the right end effector for the job it could be quite useful already..

    Interested to know how much flex it shows under external forces, if it shows much droop under a load its very hard to use it for anything automated as positioning would need active feedback. Still really cool though.

  2. It’s a work of art and engineering I’m sure, but it looks as if it has some sort of neuromuscular disorder. Maybe Parkinson’s or MS. Possibly it’s simply hyped up on caffeine or nicotine.

  3. This is a design waiting for its perfect problem to solve – many industrial processes could benefit from getting away from the jointed model, and certainly more remote medical ones could. The really cool things will surface in applications we’re not seeing yet.

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