Robot arms that look just like Doc Ock's exist. Prepare for supervillainy

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Mar 17, 2014, 4:29 PM EDT (Updated)

We're just two more robot arms and one horrible mishap away from seeing a real-life Doctor Octopus. Thanks, science.

Engineers at the German firm Festo have crafted two robotic arms based on a concept they first developed three years ago. Made of 3D-printed pieces and powered by artificial, pneumatic muscles, the arms were designed to mimic the movements and flexibility of an elephant's trunk, with the idea of lending more dexterity to machines so they can help humans with more delicate tasks.

That all seems very useful and even exciting, until you realize that the two arms -- each tipped with three claws for gripping -- look pretty much exactly like the robotic limbs of Spider-Man's arch-enemy, Doctor Octopus. Check it out:

These aren't just remote-controlled appendages, either. They're also equipped with "artificial intelligence and muscle memory," so they can learn through a process known as "goal babbling." When the arms try to grip something and can't, they can remember what didn't work, make adjustments and try again until they figure it out, much like babies. As a result, people who've seen them in action up close have dubbed the arms "strangely alive." We agree.

In all seriousness, we know that these arms are a very cool new development in the field of robotics that could be put to very good use in the future. We also know that someone should go ahead and warn Peter Parker right now.

(Geekosystem via IGN)