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Product: Robot: Part
Attachable Robotic Prehensile Tail   (+4, -3)  [vote for, against]
Tails for all (lol)

The tail and its base is strapped on over your underwear if you wear it, and under your clothes, assuming your pants have been properly modified. Batteries and electronics would be in the base.

Each segment of the tail would have an actuater that can move the next segment left, right, up, or down. The segments also have touch sensitive strips along the sides.

Now that your tail is at its rest state, sticking up at a 45 degree angle from your posterior, you bump and hold it against the side of an item, like a can of beer.

I chose beer because I am quite fond of it, and it's not too heavy.

By holding the side of the tail against the can, the elctronics blip to life and send the tail coiling tightly around whatever it has touched, until it stops feeling the item inside its coil.

Now that the tail is aware it has an object in its grasp, you can shake your hips to the left or right to let the hardware know you want to bring the item forward.

By beginning to force open the coiled tail, the system automatically releases if rom its grasp, and returns to it's rest position.
-- Giblet, Dec 31 2007

Tails_20For_20All unaccountably popular idea [hippo, Jan 02 2008]

I thought this was going to help people to climb trees:-(.
-- BJS, Dec 31 2007

Did you see "Shallow Hal"?
-- MisterQED, Dec 31 2007

Check out the Centauri from Babylon 5 ....
-- 8th of 7, Jan 01 2008

Why bones?!?!?
-- Giblet, Jan 01 2008

Tails are really over rated - they have a life of their own like teenage boys penis's

-- The Kat, Jan 01 2008

//penis's?// penises. Unless it belongs to a penis, in which case it's penis's (or, if you prefer, penis' ).
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 01 2008

I wonder how difficult it would be to wire this tail directly to the brain and essentially gain another limb. Does anyone know of a mind/machine interface that doesn't require surgery to install the electrodes?
-- Psudomorph, Jan 01 2008

You can use skin-mounted sensors to detect the signals going to other muscles, and then use those to drive the tail. However, this would mean learning to "drive" the tail by tensing some other muscle. You can't "gain" a limb as such because there's no bit of the brain that maps to it.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 01 2008

... I vaguely recall that there's a performer who has a 3rd arm attached to his back... [+] because of the obvious: who wouldn't want a tail ?
-- FlyingToaster, Jan 02 2008

But [MaxwellBuchanan], I thought that, in some circumstances at least, parts of the brain could be re-mapped.

For example, I had a friend who had to have one third of his cerebellum removed because of infection. He suffered extensive loss of motor function for some weeks. However, he then recovered all of it, precisely because of re-mapping of other parts of his cerebellum.

At least, that's how he tells the story (and he was studying neurophsyiology at the time).
-- pertinax, Jan 02 2008

// parts of the brain could be re-mapped //

After all, some inhabitants of the HB have obviously had their entire brain removed, yet they still manage to post ideas.....

-- 8th of 7, Jan 02 2008

//parts of the brain could be re- mapped// Well, yes, true. I guess the thing is that you still need to use some existing nervous outputs to drive the tail. If you could wire connections directly to the motor cortex, I guess it would remap its elf to accommodate them, but that would be a tricky thing to do.

Also, you'd need to hook up to sensory inputs too, I think, or you wouldn't get any feedback - I suspect that would impede remapping. I'd want some proprioception in there first, at least. Be aware, though, that I have a tendency to use long words to make it appear that I know what I'm talking about.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 03 2008

of course there's the balance thing... high-heels anyone ?
-- FlyingToaster, Jan 03 2008

random, halfbakery