The Elephant's Trunk Robotic Arm

    Another example of unusual robotic manipulators whose inspiration is drawn from nature is the "Elephant's Trunk" robotic arm. This robot was originally constructed by senior mechanical engineering students at Rice University. 

    Unlike a true elephant's trunk which is continuous, however, the trunk is comprised of 32 degrees of freedom in 16 small links. There are four sections with two controllable degrees of freedom each. 

    As part of a novel class of robots, the hyper-redundant and tentacle-like manipulators, much preliminary work remains to be done to understand how best to use these robots.  Ongoing research using the elephant's trunk includes investigations into the robot's inverse kinematics and path planning. 

     Movie of Elephant Trunk 

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