The diverse and complex Octopus has been chosen as the model for a new type of robot that is being developed. There are plenty of positive reasons to develop this kind of robot. A robot that can squeeze through small gaps is perfect for search and rescue. The soft parts won’t hurt a person and will be less likely to wear down. What other creature has demonstrated those tendencies other than the Octopus?
I’ve seen a video where a huge Octopus has squeezed through a 4inch gap to get back in the sea. The Octobot has that quality thanks to it’s external layers made up of 3D printing, molding and soft lithography. Taking inspiration not just from the appearance, but also the movement of its limbs the Octobot is designed to have fluid movement of its tentacles.
Let’s not too far ahead of ourselves, though. So far it can only twitch the tentacles, but it’s a step forward. Powered by a chemical reaction instead of carrying a hard battery, the Octobot is kept as soft as possible. Movement is dictated via microfluid logic that “directs the flow of fuel”. This logic circuit acts like a traditional circuit board by “autonomously directing the fuel” to where it needs to be.
You can see in the video below how the circuits work by sending fuel where it needs to go. The movement of the Octobot has been sped up by 15x, so the operation of it at this time is very slow.
Still, it’s a definite step forward to a future where humans are ruled by a gigantic robotic C’thulhu. Where we are completely subserviant to our celaphopodic masters. Still, it could be worse, we could be subserviant to a wealthy elite minority who….. oh.