this octopus-inspired robot soft arm can grip, move, and manipulate objects

this octopus-inspired robot soft arm can grip, move, and manipulate objects

researchers at the harvard john a. paulson school of engineering and applied sciences (SEAS) and beihang university have developed an octopus-inspired soft robotic arm that can grip, move, and manipulate objects. featuring a flexible, tapered design, the soft robotic arm is complete with suction cups, allowing it a firm grip on objects of all shapes, sizes and textures.


researches at SEAS know that two-thirds of an octopus’s neurons are in its arms, meaning that each arm literally has a mind of its own. the marine animals are able to untie knots, open childproof bottles and wrap around their preys. ‘most previous research on octopus-inspired robots focused either on mimicking the suction or the movement of the arm, but not both,’ said august domel, a recent PhD graduate of harvard and co-first author of the paper. ‘our research is the first to quantify the tapering angles of the arms and the combined functions of bending and suction, which allows for a single small gripper to be used for a wide range of objects that would otherwise require the use of multiple grippers.’

this octopus-inspired robot soft arm can grip, move, and manipulate objects



the octopus-inspired soft robotic arm mimics the tapering angle of a real octopus arm, and has been designed to bend and grab objects. ‘we mimicked the general structure and distribution of these suckers for our soft actuators,’ said co-first author zhexin xie, a PhD student at beihang university. ‘although our design is much simpler than its biological counterpart, these vacuum-based biomimetic suckers can attach to almost any object.’


to control the robotic arm, scientists use two valves; one to apply pressure for bending the arm and one for a vacuum that engages the suckers. by changing the pressure and vacuum, the arm can attach to an object, wrap around it, carry it and release it.

this octopus-inspired robot soft arm can grip, move, and manipulate objects



‘the results from our study not only provide new insights into the creation of next-generation soft robotic actuators for gripping a wide range of morphologically diverse objects, but also contribute to our understanding of the functional significance of arm taper angle variability across octopus species,’ said katia bertoldi, the william and ami kuan danoff professor of applied mechanics at SEAS, and co-senior author of the study.



project info:


name: tentacle-bot, octopus-inspired robot

developed by: harvard john a. paulson school of engineering and applied sciences (SEAS) and beihang university

  • Holly crap, is it ethic to use crabs?

    Erenes says:
  • Suggestion: please make it controlled/act by voice. For instance people missing a hand to push buttons. Succes! Ab.

    Ab Haas says:

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