Bet Cthulhu Will Be Pleased With This Robotic Octopus Tentacle!

Khryss | Published 2017-04-01 22:56
Octopus and their cephalopod brethren have been the inspiration for many science fiction creatures (especially your favourite anime fantasy). The individual motor control of an octopus' eight arms, its huge proportions, vigilant scrambling across the seafloor and its amazing ability of squeezing itself through small spaces can be downright shudder-inducing. And apparently, scientists have long been interested with them as well, using these as models for biomimicry. Now, a German industrial automation company, Festo, presents another amazing soft robot modelled after such creature: The OctopusGripper. Octopus tentacles, just like our tongue and elephant trunks, are what's called a "muscular hydrostat." So, Festo fashioned an octopus arm to flex and bend without the need for any hard "bone" or metal structure inside. And instead of having the muscles water-based, they’ve designed the robot to utilize compressed air in order to bend and be able to control its flexibility. Add it up with a passive and vacuum-powered suction cups for gripping, and there you have it! (Watch the video below) [embed][/embed] While it is still a delightfully unnerving sight as sci-fi turned to reality, would you want these designs to be parts of our future, grasping and squeezing with its sucker-hand? For Festo envisions these to work together with people, noting that there’s no danger at all from this writhing disembodied tentacle, and that it’s a friendly and helpful bot. "Its safe structure already meets the strict criteria of a soft robotics component and guarantees a safe working relationship with people," the company states in a design overview. "Even in the event of a collision, they are harmless and do not have to be shielded from the worker like conventional factory robots." So, there nothing to fear from the robotic octopus. Again, as a Festo spokesperson told Motherboard, "The gripper poses no danger to the user in direct contact.”
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