Soft-robotic arm inspired by the octopus: II. From artificial requirements to innovative technological solutions

Bioinspir Biomim. 2012 Jun;7(2):025005. doi: 10.1088/1748-3182/7/2/025005. Epub 2012 May 22.


Soft robotics is a current focus in robotics research because of the expected capability of soft robots to better interact with real-world environments. As a point of inspiration in the development of innovative technologies in soft robotics, octopuses are particularly interesting 'animal models'. Octopus arms have unique biomechanical capabilities that combine significant pliability with the ability to exert a great deal of force, because they lack rigid structures but can change and control their degree of stiffness. The octopus arm motor capability is a result of the peculiar arrangement of its muscles and the properties of its tissues. These special abilities have been investigated by the authors in a specific study dedicated to identifying the key principles underlying these biological functions and deriving engineering requirements for robotics solutions. This paper, which is the second in a two-part series, presents how the identified requirements can be used to create innovative technological solutions, such as soft materials, mechanisms and actuators. Experiments indicate the ability of these proposed solutions to ensure the same performance as in the biological model in terms of compliance, elongation and force. These results represent useful and relevant components of innovative soft-robotic systems and suggest their potential use to create a new generation of highly dexterous, soft-bodied robots.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomimetic Materials*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Elastic Modulus / physiology
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Extremities / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Octopodiformes / physiology*
  • Robotics / instrumentation*