'Tentacle Bot' Grips and Manipulates Range of Objects
Researchers from Harvard University developed an octopus-inspired soft robotic arm that can grip and manipulate a large range of objects of all shapes and sizes, from exercise balls to eggs. The robotic arm has a flexible and tapered design equipped with suction cups to give it firm grasping capabilities. It's controlled with two valves, one to apply pressure for bending the arm and one for a vacuum that engages the suckers. By changing the pressure and vacuum, the arm can attach to any object, wrap around it, carry it, and release it. The researchers tested the device on many different objects, including thin plastic sheets, test tubes, and even live crabs. The tapering also allowed the arm to squeeze into confined spaces to retrieve objects.