‘Walking’ octopus inspires soft robots

Eh, Ill bite. No matter how you look at it, this is certainly not something you would hear about everyday!

The surprise discovery that octopi can “walk” along the sea bed on two tentacles has inspired scientists seeking to create of a new generation of soft, flexible robots.

Two species of octopus have been observed moving in an upright bipedal stride since the discovery was announced in March this year.

And scientists at the University of California at Berkeley believe they can develop artificial muscles for use in a new field of soft robotics using the studies of the octopus’s movement.

“Each arm rolls along the suckers and pushes the animal back, and then the other arm touches down, rolls along the suckers, and pushes the animal back again,” biologist Chrissy Hufford explained to BBC World Service’s Science In Action programme.

“They flatten part of their arm like a tank tread, and roll backwards on it. They make a functional foot, even though they don’t have an anatomic foot.” [Read the rest]