Did You See This?

The Robot Snake Balloon of Doom

Just kidding. It might actually save you.

Oh, just what we needed: a “Giacometti Arm with Balloon Body,” eerily demonstrated above by Suzumori Endo Robotics Laboratory. It’s kind of like the chain of packing balloons you find in an Amazon package, but smart. And with a camera taped to the end.

Filled with helium, and with 20 flexed joints powered by lightweight artificial muscles, the 65-foot-long appendage weighs only 2.5 pounds. If it collapsed on someone, they’d barely notice. And the lack of bulk also means the Giacommetti Arm is a weakling. Though it can lift its camera, anything heavier would keep it from getting off the ground. Still, since the device can fit easily into the trunk off a car, it could be useful in emergencies, when there can be an urgent need to see into inaccessible places.

That said, if I were in an emergency, this is not what I would want to see.