A robot that imitates the muscular structure of an octopus is the new “toy” created by engineers of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Ann.
It would be the first “invertebrate” robot, that is, without a solid skeleton. The project has been named Octopus, and receives a grant from the European Union of 10 million euros.
In the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics you can see the article with the description of the design. To achieve this flexibility silicone rings are used to copy their transverse muscles, while to imitate the longitudinal ones they will use a polymer that reacts to an electric current, thanks to which it could contract like the tentacle of an octopus.
The great problem of the robots directed by remote control under the sea is its inefficiency to reach rocky nooks and intricate coral formations, so this robot would open a possibility until now insurmountable.
Despite the good intentions of these researchers the experts of the magazine New Scientist, doubt much that really can be imitated the incredible ability of these animals to make the most of their phenomenal anatomy.
At the moment, the tentacle has not been built, but it has developed a mechanical simulator that mimics the forces produced by the electroactive polymer. Without a doubt, we are facing an exciting challenge.