Sandia National Laboratories has developed a highly cost-effective robotic hand that can efficiently use tools and even repair itself. The Sandia hand is covered in a gel-like layer to mimic the gripping capabilities of the human hand, and is also modular — all of the fingers are detachable and can be replaced with different tools or parts as necessary. In fact, principal investigator Curt Salibury says "if a finger pops off, the robot can actually pick it up with the remaining fingers, [...] and resocket the finger by itself."

The project was funded by DARPA with the goal of creating a relatively inexpensive robot hand that could disarm bombs, replacing the traditional disposal method — blowing them up. Salisbury says that the Sandia Hand costs $10,000, and each joint is 90 percent cheaper than current commercially available options. There's no telling when we might see the Sandia Hand in action, however, as the Lockheed Martin subsidiary has not yet revealed a timeline for wider implementation.