What high-tech materials are required to make a robotic hand that can pick up almost anything? Coffee grounds and a latex balloon. The design comes from a team of researchers including Heinrich Jaeger of The University of Chicago and John Amend, who is now trying to sell these grippers through Empire Robotics. But you can make your own at home with some simple materials. The only tricky-to-find object you’ll need is a vacuum pump (I got mine here, where you can also find an excellent instructional video).
Meet the Producer
About Flora Lichtman
Flora Lichtman is host of the podcast Every Little Thing. She’s a former Science Friday multimedia producer.