Here is a multi-fingered robotic hand that can handle objects of various shapes with soft contact without damaging them. It has a tendon-driven skeleton, granular materials, and deformable rubber skin. As this video shows, the robotic hand can hold a mug, plastic bottle, baseball, and everything in between.
As the researchers explain:
If the air around the granular materials in the rubber skin and jamming transition is vacuumed, the grasping posture can be fixed and the object can be grasped firmly and stably. A high gras ping stability under disturbances can be attained. Additionally, the fingertips can work as a small jamming gripper to grasp an obj ect smaller than a fingertip.