While they're fascinating to watch and sometimes even delicious to eat, how many times a day do you really think about the octopus or what an amazing piece of natural machinery it is?
Cecilia Laschi, professor of industrial bioengineering at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa, Italy, is so impressed by the octopus she's leading an extensive team of roboticists and scientists to build the first soft-bodied robot replicate of one. Which may not seem that exciting, until you learn just how unique the muscle tissue and dexterity of the octopus is.
As New Scientist cleverly pointed out, if the "Octopus" project is successful a robot someday might be able to accomplish the task seen in this video by Dr. James B. Wood, an assistant research scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences who maintains a Web site on cephalopods.
If you think it through, the octopus is a very dexterous creature that if translated into a robot could provide endless capability for exploring hard to reach places in the ocean. While we've seen other aquatic robots reaching for the depths of the ocean or mimicking creatures like fish and snakes, a completely soft-bodied underwater robot would be groundbreaking.… Read more