Today we've got a Lynxmotion manipulator arm that's been expertly modded to be controlled by a USB mouse. [Insert image of those little green aliens from Toy Story here, gazing upwards in adoration.]
The video shows how perfectly the mouse operates this thing: sliding the mouse controls its movement in all directions, the scroll wheel raises and lowers the claw up and down, and clicking the left or right button closes or rotates the claw. The arm picks up the figurine in the still quickly and accurately.
The brain of this robotic arm is an Arduino Duemilanove (if you've never worked with Arduinos before, they are great microcontroller boards; the Arduino Mega was an integral part of my senior design project in school), and the robot arm itself is a Lynxmotion AL5D, which is used to drive six servos.
Maybe I can make one of these in my house like those claws at the arcade (or in front of the grocery store these days), with an enclosure, some cheap prizes and a coin slot, and see if I can make a little money when friends come over. [Hackaday via Ubergizmo]