A Hong Kong-designed robotic claw will be used by Ifremer, a French oceanographic and environmental research agency, for deep sea exploration, reported South China Morning Post on Monday.
The titanium claw is slightly larger than a human hand with the weight of less than 1 kilogram. It will be attached to a robotic arm on Victor 6000, an unmanned submarine made by Ifremer which, with a reach down to 6,000 meters, is one of the deepest divers ever built.
According to designers of the gripper, it is designed to retrieve even a pin by blind-gripping or passive self-adaptive motion, said Ng Tze-chuen, a private dentist who designed the claw with Yung Kai-leung, a Polytechnic University engineering professor.
Vincent Rigaud, director of Ifremer's underwater systems department based in France, said the new invention could be used on wreck exploration or for scientific purposes for deep sea exploration. The gripper will undergo further tests before executing the task.
Ng said they would like to name the claw le coeur d'une femme ( a woman's heart), if Ifremer allows them to, which has got a meaning referring to a common Chinese saying about a woman's heart being as unfathomable as the deep ocean.
The local team also designed and built territorial-sampling tools for the ill-fated British Beagle 2 mission to Mars in December 2003.