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"...science fiction is sort of like a sociological genome. It's a huge range of possible futures, most of them useless; some vital. You never really know in advance."
- Peter Watts

Sensor Arm  
  An extendable multipurpose sensor cluster.  

Very handy for short, barrel-shaped robots who lack opposable thumbs.

...Artoo finished removing a socket cover and hurriedly shoved his sensor arm into the opening. Lights commenced a wild flashing on his face and smoke started issuing from several seams in the small 'droid before a frantic Threepio could pull the arm free.

Artoo emitted a few wilted beeps, successfully giving the impression of a human who had expected a glass of mild wine and instead unwittingly downed several gulps of something 180 proof.

"Well, next time watch where you stick your sensors," Threepio chastised his companion. "You could have fried your insides... That's a power outlet, stupid, not an information terminal."

Together they hunted for the proper outlet.

From Star Wars, by George Lucas.
Published by Del Rey in 1976
Additional resources -

The new Beagle 2, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express mission probe, makes use of a similar design, using a single extendable arm with a cluster of sensors:

The robotic arm holds all of Beagle 2's scientific instruments in a cluster at the end (Beagle 2's PAW). The arm supports the panoramic cameras and also deploys the mole.

The arm was originally going to move instruments and tools to-and-from the lander and the surface but after strengthening it, the equipment became an integral part of the arm and the need to make a connection every time something was picked up or put back was avoided.

(from space-technology.com)

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  More Ideas and Technology from Star Wars
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