Festo Develops Bionic Octopus Arm To One Day Work Alongside Humans [Video]By Mark Spencer, UniversityHerald Reporter
In the wild, an octopus is one fascinating creature. The Octopus is one of the most intelligent creatures in the sea and it is a master of camouflage. However, perhaps its undeniable feature is having eight tentacles full of suckers that can adhere to smooth and strongly grasp objects.
German industrial automation company Festo drew inspiration from the octopus in creating the OctopusGripper robot tentacle arm, which they say could work alongside humans in the future. Dr. Elias Knubben, head of corporate bionic projects describes the OctopusGripper as a soft pneumatic structure of silicone bends when it is filled with air. The structure also features both active and passive suction cups, according to Digital Trends.
The OctopusGripper is a sort of bionic octopus arm that can pick up and hold items via its grip and suction cups. It is constructed using a soft silicone structure that is elastic and deformable. The pneumatic tentacle can bend inwards and wrap around items, then a vacuum is applied so that the suction cups can hold and secure the object.
The bionic octopus arm can grasp and hold differently shaped objects through a combination of a form-fitting grip and vacuum adhesion. Additionally, the tentacle can be fitted with pneumatic robots. It can be controlled using the Festo Motion terminal.
A variety of gripping robots are already being used commercially especially in the industrial automation sector, however, these machines have specific purposes, another gripper is used for another type of job. This is what sets it apart according to the developers, for it can perform a wide variety of tasks.
Festo is not the first robotics company that borrowed from nature's design. Some drones were designed to fly based on the movement of batwings.
There is no launch date set yet for the OctopusGripper or price for the one-tentacled version. However, the OctopusGripper concept will be shown off at the Germany's Hannover Messe 2017 trade fair in April, IFLScience reported.