Robo Octopus research refines tentacle tech

Apr 10, 2012
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Good morning! Ready to see something creepy cool to start off your day? Happy to oblige. The European Octopus Project is designed to better understand the fine motor controls of an octopus and applying them to robotics. They seem to be making progress, with a new prototype having eight soft tentacles.

The Octopus Project posted a video to YouTube without any details as to what we should be getting scared excited about, but ieee spectrum seems to know what the score is. Two of the tentacles are SMA Arms, meaning they use a shape-memory alloy that can change its shape and length without any servos.

Meanwhile, the other six arms are made of silicone, with a steel cable running inside. Nylon cables attach to the steel cable, and when you start manipulating the nylon cables, the silicone tentacle begins to move, and can even grip objects. The Octopus Project aims to create “the world's first entirely soft robot” thanks to the lack of any rigid structures.

While the body of the robot octopus still needs to be adjusted to meet that goal, the tentacles are said to be the hardest part of the project. The Octopus Project say that the robot will help to “reach impracticable places “, as well as “open up new scenarios for marine exploration and underwater rescue.”


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