Researchers from SEAS (Harvard school of engineering and applied sciences) and the University of beihang have developed an arm robotic inspired by octopuses. He is able to grab, move and manipulate objects.
Featuring a flexible and tapered design, the soft robotic arm is complete with suction cups that allow it a firm grip on objects of all shapes and sizes.
The team at SEAS knows that two-thirds of a polyp's neurons are in its tentacles, meaning each arm literally has its own mind. Marine animals are able to untie knots, open childproof bottles and wrap their prey. If the squid they have a brain comparable to that of a dog, polyps are practically an alien species. "Most previous research on octopus-inspired robots has focused on imitation of suction or arm movement, but not both," he said. said August Domel, a recent Harvard graduate student and co-first author of the paper. "Our research is the first to quantify the tapered angles of the arms and the combined functions of flexion and suction, which allows a single small gripper to be used for a wide range of objects that would otherwise require the use of multiple grippers."
It looks like a real tentacle
The soft robotic arm inspired by the octopus mimics the tapered angle of a real tentacle and is designed to fold and grasp objects. "We mimicked the general structure and distribution of these suction cups for our soft actuators", stated the first author Zhexin Xie, PhD student at Beihang University. "Although our design is much simpler than its biological counterpart, these biomimetic vacuums can attach themselves to almost any object."
To control the soft robotic arm, scientists use two valves; one for applying pressure to bend the arm and one for a vacuum that engages the suction cups. By changing the pressure and vacuum, the arm can attach itself to an object, wrap it, carry it and release it.
"Not only do the results of our study provide new insights into creating next-generation robotic actuators, but they also contribute to our understanding of the functional significance of tentacles," he declared Katia bertoldi, professor of applied mechanics at SEAS and senior co-author of the study.