Octopus-Inspired Robot Can Grasp, Crawl, and Swim

To build their squishy aquatic robots, a team of researchers from the BioRobotics Institute at Polo Sant'Anna Valdera in Italy drew inspiration from the octopus. Their OCTOPUS robot is a completely soft robot, which integrates eight arms extending in radial direction and a central body which contains the main processing units. The front arms are mainly used for elongation and grasping, while the others are mainly used for locomotion. The robotic octopus works in water and its buoyancy is close to neutral. The experimental results show that the octopus-inspired robot can walk in water using the same strategy as the animal model, with good performance over different surfaces, including walking through physical constraints. It can grasp objects of different size and shape, thanks to its soft arm materials and conical shape.