Science Video

Meet Octobot, a Soft, Octopus-Inspired Robot

The world’s first untethered, autonomous, entirely soft robot is named Octobot, and he’s a futuristic cousin of the octopus. Michael Wehner, scientist of Harvard University is saying it is a prototype for robots which are gentle enough to work closely with living biological organisms. Eight-legged creatures have been inspiring robotics engineers for years, due to their ability to performs feats of strength.

This first completely soft robot doesn’t contain any electronics or solid components. Previous attempts at developing soft robots were hybrids inspired by starfish, worms, caterpillars and other living creatures. However, they still contain rigid components and a power source.

Michael Wehner, Research Associate in Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, told Radio Sputnik that creating octopus-based soft robot “has been something of the holy grail” for scientists working in soft robotics since the inception of the discipline.

Wehner is one of the creators of the prototype “octobot,” and co-author of a paper published in the journal Nature on Wednesday. He said that the movement of traditional robots is more rigid, like a crab, while a robot which has fluid movement like an octopus has a more delicate, gentle touch which is better suited to working with living organisms.


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