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What Can We Learn from the Octopus?

Octopus arms can perform a number of complex movements, and their capabilities are increased by suckers, which work in distinct ways, and perform a remarkable variety of functions. For this reason, we investigated the morphological and physiological features of this natural adhesion solution, in order to collect new design criteria for innovative bio‐inspired adhesion devices. In detail, we carried out four different analyses; then we merged and compared the data in order to have a complete view of each aspect of this amazing natural solution. In accordance with the information gathered, we designed a CAD model of the octopus sucker, and we built the first soft passive prototypes. These prototypes were made with silicone, and they were tested by means of an ad hoc adhesion setup with an external actuation. We demonstrated the capability of these prototypes to attach in wet conditions to different kinds of substrates, in terms of materials and roughness. Our results showed that, for instance, a suction cup prototype with an outer diameter of 1.5 cm and a weight of 2 g has a load capacity of almost 8 N. Moreover, in this work we present a first design of active suction cup able to remain attached on substratum for extended period of time without energy consumption.

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10 Jun 2013
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