New Robotic Octopus Arm Can Easily Hold Objects

Posted: Mar 30 2017, 5:42pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
New Robotic Octopus Arm can Easily Hold Objects
Credit: Festo

The soft robot mimics the function of octopus's arm and sucker

Inspired by the remarkable gripping ability of octopus, researchers have created a new soft robot that is extremely flexible and picks up objects firmly without the risk of dropping them or losing control.

The robot, named OctopusGripper, is designed by a German robotics company Festo and mimics the function of an octopus’s arm having suckers. Because of its softness, the robot can easily move in all directions. Its soft structure makes it ideal to perform such tasks that are not possible for rigid robots.

Octopuses have long been a source of inspiration in soft robotics. Their suckers are an extraordinary tool that enable the creature to move and grasp objects with remarkable control.

“The octopus is a fascinating creature. As it has no skeleton and is made almost entirely of soft muscle, it is also extremely flexible and maneuverable. This not only means it can swim agilely in all directions, but also grip a wide range of objects in a form-fitting manner. The OctopusGripper now takes makes this phenomenon its own.” Festo website reads.

OctopusGripper is made of silicone and has two rows of suction cups. The robot is pneumatic-based and so is operated by gas under pressure. When the robot is inflated with air, it expands like a balloon. Its arm bends inwards and wraps around an object with great amount of ease.

Researchers have demonstrated that the robot can move up and down and bend. It can hold object of various shapes and even pour water into a glass without spilling it. Such soft robots could help revolutionize the way humans interact with robots and could potentially work alongside humans.

“Thanks to soft material, the artificial tentacle is not only able to grip in a gentle and safe manner. It also fulfils the strict criteria of a soft robotics component and thus has great potential for collaborative working space of the future.”

Next, Festo is aiming to test Gripper alongside another similar robot based on pneumatic system.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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