Scientists in the United Kingdom have developed a robot that mimics octopus movements. The invention could lay groundwork for future robots that resemble and move more like humans. Researchers from London’s Queen Mary University said the robot octopus is powered by computer-controlled air chambers in its tentacles, which are opened and closed by pneumatic valves to change the direction.
The invention will be among the British technology showcased at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in 2023, according to the Evening Standard UK. More than 4,000 global experts in Artificial Intelligence and robotics are expected to participate in the event.
“Many modern roboticists take inspiration from biology to create novel robotic structures, including those that are modeled after the octopus,” the researchers said. They said their paper published in IEEE Explore “advances this trend by creating soft robots modeling the complex motion patterns of octopus tentacles employing a bio-mimetic approach.”
The octopus robot is entirely made from soft material and uses a “novel fluidic actuation mechanism that allows the robot to advance forward, change directions and rotate around its primary axis.” The researchers also conducted an experimental study showing the “feasibility of the proposed robot and actuation mechanism.”
Soft robots have an edge over the traditional “rigid” robots in terms of elasticity and flexibility as the technology is inspired by the way in which living organisms move and adapt to their surroundings.