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We came across a video of a 60-foot-long helium balloon robot arm that you just have to see to believe. It is the real-life version of War of the Worlds.

Remember this scene above from the 2005 remake of the 1953 classic?

Tom Cruise and crew are hiding in the basement in terror as one of the alien ships unleashes a giant, snake-like robotic arm that has an all-seeing eyeball at the end of it.

The eyeball captures, transmits, and interprets images as the arm meticulously inspects and searches every corner of the basement for the humans.

Well, whether it was inspired by the movie or by these classic toys, it’s 2016 and the humans now have a giant robot arm of their own.

If you’re filling helium balloons to inspect strangers’ basements or more appropriately, for your store’s balloon program, Zephyr can give you a free helium quote!


65-foot helium balloon robot arm

While doing research for our article, “Walking helium balloon robot could water your plants,” from a few weeks ago, we discovered this:



This is called the Giacometti Arm, which we presume is coined after an artist named Alberto Giacometti. Giacometti’s human sculptures were extremely elongated, not unlike the robotic arm.

Interestingly enough, Giacometti’s wife’s name was Annette Arm. Seriously. Coincidence? Probably not. 🙂

But back to the helium balloon robot arm.

According to the creators at the Suzumori Endo Lab at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Giacometti Arm is 65-feet long.

It’s segmented “body” is made out of simple mylar helium balloons. Each of the 20 joints between the helium balloons is driven by artificial, pneumatic muscles that are controlled by a computer.

Just like the arm in War of the Worlds, an “eye” is mounted at the end of the giant helium balloon robot arm — a simple camera that transmits a live image back to the person at the controls.

And get this — the entire thing — all 60 feet of it — weighs just 2-and-a-half pounds!

So what the heck would it be used for? Actually, the exact same thing the alien arm in the movie was used for: Search and inspection.

Could 2017 be the War of the Balloons!?


Wholesale helium for retail chains stores Zephyr helium quote

Sources: YouTube/Suzumori Endo Robotics Laboratory, Suzumori Endo Lab, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Wikipedia