A seahorse tail’s exceptional flexibility is due to its structure, made up of bony, armored plates, which slide past each other. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, are hoping to use a similar structure to create a flexible robotic arm equipped with muscles made out of polymer, which could be used in medical devices, underwater exploration and unmanned bomb detection and detonation.

The final goal is to build a robotic arm that would be a unique hybrid between hard and soft robotic devices.

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Also: Learn about an arm-mounted percussive coring tool.