A team of European scientists have built a robotic arm similar to an octopus which can save lives underwater and can also navigate and grasp objects underwater.
Cecilia Laschi, an associate professor of biorobotics at the ScuolaSuperioreSant'Anna in Pisa, is working on the robot. She explained that the team intended to create a robot which was soft and at the same time have the capability to control its stiffness.The octopus has a distinct muscle structure which is mostly found in human tongues and elephant’s trunks. The scientist team studied the octopus’s muscle movement to find that shortening and elongation of its arms occurred while it tried to push.
The robotic model is 17 inches long approximately and is made to look like a live octopus found in the Mediterranean. The arm is waterproof and is created from silicone, implanted with a steel cable fastened to nylon cables. The arm is able to hold objects when the nylon cables are manipulated. The external silicone provides the necessary friction for sucking the components. The team is planning to have the complete model ready with all eight arms by January 2013.Laschi claimed that a team of British surgeons showed interest in using the octopus-like robot for performing endoscopic surgeries. She added that the robot is could be useful in search operations where there is a need to squeeze into small spaces or even help in rescuing people stuck in debris. The robot could also be remotely controlled for rescuing people in difficult underwater situations.