The Festo researchers who built this prototype robotic arm claim that they were inspired by the form and function of an elephant's trunk. But anyone familiar with Spider-Man's nemesis, Dr. Otto Octavius, knows what they really had in mind.

It's only natural that under-paid, unappreciated scientists would spend their time working on a project that could go haywire all of a sudden and turn them into a technologically-enhanced cyborg supervillains. And it seems as though that's exactly the case with the new robotic arm from the Festo Bionic Learning Network, a project that combines the best aspects of assembly line robo-arms and more advanced models, like Dean Kamen's "Luke arm."

Festo, who have previously created cool penguin-inspired robotics, foresee applications in agriculture and medicine, and the demonstration video assures the viewer that "direct contact between machines and their human operators is no longer hazardous, because the bionic handling assistant yields immediately." Yeah, sure. Until it doesn't. [Fast Company]