Octopus Robots Will Lend an Arm for Underwater Work
Every once in a while a video pops up online that shows an octopus doing something amazing whether its solving puzzles or masquerading as a walking coconut. Their boneless, flexible bodies make it seem like they can do almost anything. Realizing the value of these abilities, researchers hope to create a robotic octopus to undertake complicated underwater tasks.
Scientists from the University of Reading are working on building a robot to mimic an octopus in every aspect, for use in underwater maintenance, marine salvage and object retrieval. According to a report from The Engineer its creation "will likely lead to new technologies for actuation, sensing, control and robot architectures, materials and kinematics."
The team plans on mimicking the octopus' natural muscular hydrostat (muscles with no skeletal support) so that all of the robot's arms will be able to move with the fluidity of the real animal. Of course, no octopus is complete without a set of suckers, and the researchers have also designed a sucker prototype. "These structures can be 7 to 8 millimeters in diameter, with a slight concave surface, and each of these can generate a lifting force of around four Newtons," Richard Bonser of Reading University told The Engineer.
So far the project has only developed a single arm and it will be a couple more years until they can get all eight working together.
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