A German company called Festo has unveiled a rather bizarre robotic octopus arm, which could work alongside humans in the future.
Called the OctopusGripper, the device is able to pick up and hold items using a soft silicone structure. When compressed air is applied to the arm, it can bend inwards and wrap around items.
It uses two rows of suction cups to attach to objects. And in a video, the arm is seen picking up a variety of items, while bending and moving in a somewhat creepy manner.
“As soon as the pneumatic tentacle wraps around the object, a vacuum is applied at the suction cups, making the object adhere to the gripper,” Festo notes in an online PDF. “This means the OctopusGripper can pick up and hold a variety of different shapes.”
The company also notes that the device is not dangerous to people, with the structure being elastic and deformable. This, they say, makes it ideal to use alongside fleshy humans.
For example, they note that a variety of grippers are already in use in the industrial automation sector. But these have specific shapes and purposes, meaning they must be replaced if another task is required.
The OctopusGripper, on the other hand, can perform a wide range of tasks. “Adaptable grippers like the Octopus Gripper can assume a significant role in this respect,” Festo notes.
So, while it might incur nightmares in the minds of workers, this freaky contraption could soon be making its way to an industry near you.