A glove with synthetic suckers impressed by these discovered on octopuses permits folks to securely grip delicate objects underwater, and the expertise might be added to robots in future


13 July 2022


This “octa-glove” allows you to decide up objects utilizing octopus-like suckers

Michael Bartlett

Synthetic suckers impressed by these of an octopus might enable robots to delicately grasp objects that they’re normally too clumsy to carry. The expertise has been demonstrated in a wearable glove for people, however researchers say comparable units might sooner or later be utilized in machine limbs.

Octopuses have positive management of round 2000 suckers on their eight limbs, permitting them to dexterously decide up and manipulate objects. Michael Bartlett at Virginia Tech says this means impressed him to create tiny rubber suckers tipped with versatile membranes that may be activated to create suction and stick to things.

His workforce created a wearable glove with a sucker and a micro-LIDAR sensor on every fingertip. The sensor detects the proximity of objects, whereas a microcontroller triggers the sucker when it’s shut sufficient to stay to the thing. The prototype merely holds on to an object for a set variety of seconds earlier than releasing it, however Bartlett says {that a} extra refined management mechanism might be used so {that a} robotic or human operator might decide up, manipulate and launch objects at will.

In checks, the glove was capable of decide up a various vary of objects underwater, together with metallic toys, a fragile hydrogel ball and the curved portion of a spoon. However the workforce says that the system is equally succesful in air, except an object is so tough {that a} correct seal can’t be fashioned by the sucker.

“The glove was a pure place to begin for us. I assumed it will be neat to have octopus-like skills in your hand,” says Bartlett. “However we might additionally make a [robot] arm which is extra like a tentacle – we might truly make it very biomimetic.”

Bartlett is eager to emphasize that suckers is not going to be a common method for every type of robotics, however says that they may supply distinctive skills that match sure functions nicely. He imagines that they might be utilized in manufacturing the place fragile, moist or easy objects are concerned and even in some areas of healthcare.

Journal reference: Science Advances, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abq1905

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