Towards next generation high dexterity soft-bodied robots (the robotic octopus)

Welcome to the aquarium where you can try your hand at operating a robotic octopus, and at the same time gain a greater understanding of the principles of embodied intelligence which when applied to biomimetic soft-robotics technologies make possible the highly dexterous motor capabilities of this robotic octopus.

Soft robotics refers to novel, more efficient, compliant actuators, inspired by biological tissues and contrasting to today’s rigid robots. The control of fully compliant, highly redundant systems with many degrees of freedom still represents one of the major challenges in robotics and OCTOPUS represents an important design approach for intelligent embodied systems.

Biological researches aim at contributing to the development of the octopus-like artefact through a biomimetic approach, thus with a deep biomechanical characterization of living octopuses, and their behavioural and neuro-physiological study. Novel instruments and methods used for the direct and non invasive biomechanical measurements of the octopus arms will be shown, as well as the biological results which have been translated into engineering specifications and embedded into robotics systems.

An aquarium will contain an interactive soft prototype of the robotic octopus, with one moving arm that visitors will be able to operate using a joypad, in order to understand the embodied intelligence principles that give rise to the octopus highly dexterous motor capabilities and how these are integrated into the robot. Prototypes are mainly based on the exploitation of material characteristics and smart arrangement of the actuation system and they show that it is possible to obtain complex and unexpected behaviours also with simple control schemes.

Contact: Professor Cecilia Laschi

Primary affiliation: Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna
Position: Associate Professor of Biorobotics - OCTOPUS IP Coordinator
City: Pisa
Country: Italy
Web Site:

Stand: 5