Octopus Robots To Transmit Live Video From Ocean Depths

By: | December 18th, 2014

Humans have long used canines and other animals to keep them company, transport food and drink, protect them and provide companionship. But what creatures can humans use in the oceans for the same purpose? Dolphins and seals come to mind, but what about octopuses? What might they be able to do for humanity? Probably not much, unless they are octopus robots.

Octopus Robots Grab Objects In A Really Interesting Way

Greek scientists at the Foundation for Research & Technology-Hellas (FORTH) who study and mimic the shape and movement of octopuses have designed a lifelike eight armed robot that “naturally” sits, moves and swims in the Aegean Sea. The robot is capable of carrying small objects held between its’ lifelike tentacles, such as a small ball.

These robot octopuses crawl along the ocean floor in a manner quite like the real thing which is never in a hurry unless it is being attacked. And just like baby octopuses when they’re born, the new robotic type are learning to swim, as researchers try out different strokes and body movements to see what propels it the best.

The current design of these octopuses includes a body made of silicon and innards made up of “microfluidic” channels pumping air and fluids into the body to control movement that is as close to natural as possible.

FORTH’s octopus project is part of the Octopus Integrating Project, a collaboration of European and Israeli universities to build a soft-bodied robot based on the octopus.

One application of the new robot, beside obvious military uses, according to designers, is to add a cameras that can unobtrusively observe and record the behavior of marine life, not currently not possible with existing technology which often spooks marine creatures.

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David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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