An octopus-bioinspired solution to movement and manipulation for soft robots

Bioinspir Biomim. 2011 Sep;6(3):036002. doi: 10.1088/1748-3182/6/3/036002. Epub 2011 Jun 13.


Soft robotics is a challenging and promising branch of robotics. It can drive significant improvements across various fields of traditional robotics, and contribute solutions to basic problems such as locomotion and manipulation in unstructured environments. A challenging task for soft robotics is to build and control soft robots able to exert effective forces. In recent years, biology has inspired several solutions to such complex problems. This study aims at investigating the smart solution that the Octopus vulgaris adopts to perform a crawling movement, with the same limbs used for grasping and manipulation. An ad hoc robot was designed and built taking as a reference a biological hypothesis on crawling. A silicone arm with cables embedded to replicate the functionality of the arm muscles of the octopus was built. This novel arm is capable of pushing-based locomotion and object grasping, mimicking the movements that octopuses adopt when crawling. The results support the biological observations and clearly show a suitable way to build a more complex soft robot that, with minimum control, can perform diverse tasks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomimetic Materials*
  • Biomimetics / instrumentation*
  • Biomimetics / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Octopodiformes / physiology*
  • Robotics / instrumentation*