Fish in Mediterranean Sea follow alongside the robot
D. Tsakiris/Institute of Computer Science/FORTH
CHICAGO —Webbed underarms can turn a sluggish robotic octopus into a speed demon.
A squishy membrane connecting the machine’s eight arms helps the bot scoot through water nearly twice as fast as octobots without webs, researchers reported at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems on September 15.
Inspired by Octopus vulgaris, the well-known sea creature with arms connected by a fleshy, skirtlike mantle, computer scientist Dimitris Tsakiris and colleagues decided to give a makeover to the robotic octopus they had previously developed. The earlier, webless version could propel itself at up to 100 millimeters per second by slowly opening stiff plastic arms and then snapping them together.