A device reminiscent of the mammalian spine has been designed and built with the ability to lock each individual joint in a string of ball joints. The assembly may be controlled in a manner similar to other hyper-redundant robots, with the added advantage of locking in a straight or axial position. Locking is achieved by orienting two mating collars in a singular configuration that forces compression against neighboring collars and prohibits bending or rotation. Locking is desirable for added strength in supporting objects, as well as for stabilization and power efficiency when bending is not necessary. The split locking mechanism represents a biologically inspired structure with added strength and stability for use in robotics.