When you think of robots in factories, you probably imagine those autonomous arms with lasers or pinchers on the end, doing fancy things like putting cars together. Since those robots are cost-prohibitive and large, they don't exactly make great office companions. A uArm on Kickstarter, however, will give you a similar effect in a much smaller package.
The Arduino-powered uArm is inspired by the industrial-strength ABB PalletPack robot arm. It's strong enough to lift up and relocate a full can of soda. The possibilities for such a gadget are quite varied. You could use it to dish out cat treats, move chess pieces, or hand you a pen when you need one.
There are a couple different options for the end of the arm, including a gripper "hand" and a vacuum pump-driven suction cup. You could also fashion your own add-on to achieve whatever you want it to do, whether it's to scribble in a notebook or heft an LED bulb to light up your work space. The gadget is controlled through a Windows application, with Android and iOS apps under development.
The uArm has surpassed its funding goal already. The arm comes in either acrylic or wood with a gripper for $185 in kit form. If you don't want to assemble it yourself, then it costs $279 to buy it already put together.
This leads to an interesting thought. Could a uArm be used to assemble other uArms? That may be a little advanced for now, but it's a nice thought for the future of this handy little robot.
Once the campaign is completed, the robot arm will go open-source with the design files and software being released in May 2014. The uArm is best explained by seeing it in action. Check out the pitch video below.