The animal kingdom is a reliable place to turn for mechanical inspiration. The German automation company Festo just made a robotic arm that takes its cue from an octopus. Meet the OctoGripper!
Festo figured it’s hard to beat the octopus’ flexibility. Built with a soft silicone structure that can be pneumatically controlled, the device bends inward to grip an item with two rows of suction cups. These create a vacuum, allowing the gripper to hold onto objects tightly while moving quickly — a common challenge in robotics.
This isn’t the only thing Festo is taking from nature. They want to see the OctoGripper incorporated into their BionicMotion Robot, which is inspired by an elephant’s trunk. These could work side by side with humans, perhaps speeding up work.
Or they could pair up with Boston Dynamics and start the best robotic zoo this side of “Horizon: Zero Dawn.”