Robotic Tentacles Are Grabbing Industry’s Attention

'OctopusGripper' can grab objects of various shapes and sizes.

June 4, 2017 5:00 am

The future is for suckers. That’s because Festo, a technology company, has wrapped its minds around a working robotic octopus arm.

Made of flexible silicone, it uses compressed air and vacuum to grip objects of all shapes and sizes.

The robotic arm moves as fluidly as its inspiration, cephalopod mollusc, navigates its tentacles underwater. Octopi have no skeleton and are made almost entirely of soft muscle. The OctopusGripper is modeled after those features: It can wrap around objects and bend inward. It even has suction cups on the inside of the artificial tentacle that use a vacuum to grip heavier objects.

The whole apparatus is made of soft materials, making the OctopusGripper safe to use around people and in hectic environments; the arm is harmless in the case of a collision. It can also maneuver fragile items without breakage.

Most importantly though, they are really cool to watch.


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