Octopus Robot Arm Enhances Human-Machine Interaction

By TeeJay Small | Updated

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It seems that new technology is being developed every day, bringing humanity closer and closer to bridging the gap between modern science and Spider-Man villainy. One such example, which comes to us via a recent write-up in Psypost.org, is a newly crafted octopus robot arm developed in a bid to revolutionize soft robotics. The arm, which has been named E-SOAM, was developed by a team of engineers led by Zhexin Xie and marks an unprecedented level of human-to-robot interaction.

E-SOAM stands for electronics-integrated soft octopus arm and features incredibly flexible limbs and a deeper level of intricate muscle control than science has ever developed before. The octopus robot tentacle serves as a key component in unlocking soft robotics to the public.

Soft Robotics

Soft robotic limbs move fluidly in a number of smooth factors, unlike rigid links commonly seen in most robotics. For instance, previous robot arms may have utilized rigid fulcrum points such as hinges and screws, whereas the E-SOAM mimics the smooth-flowing nature of an octopus limb.

Obviously, the octopus is known for the fluidity of their movements, making the creature a perfect case study for robot limbs under the soft robotics umbrella. Scientists have remained puzzled for years on how to develop limbs that contain the same ease of access as these free-flowing aquatic creatures, resulting in the E-SOAM’s highly advanced development of circuits and interlocking tendrils. The octopus robot contains 16 pneumatic actuators, allowing the tentacle to move in multiple non-rigid degrees.


The glove is even capable of sensing suction-like sensations.

Because of these actuators, the octopus robot has an incredibly high output for signal processing and sensory capabilities, allowing the limb to communicate a host of complex data to the user controlling it. While the soft arm seems like something you might find in the opening pages of a Spider-Man comic, engineers have worked tirelessly to bring this machine to life, embedding the gripper with a liquid-based electronic network for enhanced sensory data.

The arm is said to be able to grip, lift, and move objects, as well as detect the temperature of anything it touches.

The octopus robot is operated by a finger glove with touch-based feedback using wireless Bluetooth technology. This allows users to easily control the arm with simple hand movements and gestures rather than utilizing a complex set of keys and computer commands.

The glove is even capable of sensing suction-like sensations. This allows the user to feel what the limb is feeling without the danger of handling objects that are sharp, incredibly heavy, or imbued with extreme temperatures.

The octopus robot contains 16 pneumatic actuators, allowing the tentacle to move in multiple non-rigid degrees.

During trials for the E-SOAM, testers were tasked with wearing a blindfold and picking up difficult-to-grasp objects such as a smooth sphere made of dense metal or a children’s toy submerged in water. The arm outperformed all metrics for average robotic limbs during testing, with researchers hailing the sophisticated tech as a massive advancement over previous manipulators.

With science and tech such as the octopus robot bringing us closer each day to full mech capability, it’s only a matter of time before industries such as engineering and manufacturing, construction, and emergency rescue are completely revamped by the incredible tech.