Octopus-Like Robot Uses Suction Cups to Grip Objects

The new design can grip a variety of objects giving it a range of potential industrial applications

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

April 26, 2024

1 Min Read
Suction cup grasping a stone
Suction cup grasping a stoneUniversity of Bristol/Tianqi Yue

Researchers from the University of Bristol have created a new octopus-inspired robot that uses a suction design to grip various objects, which the team said could be instrumental for industrial applications.

In their findings, the team demonstrated how they used a multi-layer soft structure and an artificial fluidic system to mimic the structure of biological suckers.

Current industrial solutions use ‘always-on’ pumps that use air to actively generate the suction. However, the team said these are noisy and waste energy. 

“The most important development is that we successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of the combination of mechanical conformation – the use of soft materials to conform to surface shape – and liquid seal, the spread of water onto the contacting surface for improving the suction adaptability on complex surfaces,” said Tianqi Yue, study author. “This may also be the secret behind biological organisms' ability to achieve adaptive suction,

“We believe the presented multi-scale adaptive suction mechanism is a powerful new adaptive suction strategy which may be instrumental in the development of versatile soft adhesion.”

The team said the findings have “great potential” for creating a next-generation robotic gripper capable of grasping various irregular objects.

Related:3D-Printed Robotic Gripper Works Without Power

The team plans to build a more intelligent suction cup by embedding sensors into it to regulate its behavior.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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