Toy Octopus Is Far from the Living Reality

Print Article
Posted on August 27, 2016 in Amazing Facts, Biomimetics, Intelligent Design, Marine Biology, Physics

The news media are celebrating an autonomous soft robot shaped like an octopus. It has a lot to learn from its living counterpart.

Humans can be clever. The latest soft robot, able to move without batteries, is generating a lot of interest.

  • Robotics: Generation soft (Nature): “Meet the octobot, the first robot to be made entirely from soft materials,” two Italian scientists write. “Powered by a chemical reaction and controlled by a fluidic logic circuit, it heralds a generation of soft robots that might surpass conventional machines.”
  • Pneumatic octopus is a first for soft robotics (BBC News): Look what it can do with its pneumatic activators. Jonathan Webb says, “These movements aren’t good enough, just yet, to send the octobot out for a stroll; instead it sits in one place and executes a very slow, eight-legged can-can.
  • Soft robot octopus uses chemical fuel gut to explore untethered (New Scientist): Paul Marks writes, “Squashy and soft, this robot is different from its technological ancestors – Octobot runs without a power cable or rigid electronics, moving autonomously – if still clumsily – through the world.”
  • Beyond Terminator: squishy ‘octobot’ heralds new era of soft robotics (Nature). Helen Shen wants us to be impressed. “A squishy octopus-shaped machine less than 2 centimetres tall is making waves in the field of soft robotics.” Schwarzenegger it ain’t.

Impressive as the achievement is for engineers (see their paper in Nature), readers may notice a few skills missing:

  • Ability to swim fast.
  • Ability to mimic other sea creatures.
  • Ability to squirt ink to deter predators.
  • Having tentacles with suckers able to grab things.
  • Independently-programmable flexible tentacles that are coordinated by the brain.
  • Skin that can turn on instant camouflage.
  • Ability to lay eggs and reproduce itself.

Maybe those features will be added in v. 2,205,015,814 a few million years from now.

Biomimetics teaches us that nature’s designs vastly exceed human capabilities. Just the ability to reproduce is mind-boggling.

 

No comments have been left

Leave a Reply