If I ever find myself suddenly lacking a bit of one of my arms (for as we all know, it is quite easy to misplace those things), I am so getting one of these. Kaylene Kau, an Industrial Design student at the University of Washington created this as a novel approach for fore limb prosthetics.
This makes so much sense, as it would allow for most of what a person needs without the complexity of trying to articulate individual fingers. It does not look human at all, but that isn't a problem. It is designed to look artificial, so we are not forced to visit the uncanny valley. It will be able to be used in most ways that an appendage is needed in every day life. Plus it looks bloody awesome. We can finally start looking like the cyborgs we envisioned when we were children instead of the more human looking ones we are constantly being shown in reality.
The only complaint I have about this design is that it is manually controlled. If some future model were to come equipped with full sensorimotor integration then I would be all for it. As I wouldn't want to have use my other hand to control my new robotentacle. Though, as a prototype, which this is, it gets the idea across wonderfully. I would not expect such a prototype designed for a class to have such a complex system as neural integration.
My next question is why I never got to build my own cybernetic dream machines when I was in class, I feel kind of deprived. Perhaps one day when I have my own laboratory and workshop I can begin to create such toys. I already have the maniacal laugh down perfectly.