Skip to main content

Creating bio-inspired soft robotics

The OCTOPUS project investigated the principles that give rise to the octopus sensory-motor capabilities and incorporated them in new design approaches and ICT and robotics technologies to build an embodied artefact, based broadly on the anatomy of the 8-arm body of an octopus, and with similar performance in water, in terms of dexterity, speed, control, flexibility, and applicability.

The OCTOPUS is a unique and paradigmatic example for bio-inspired soft robotics, because of its great motor capabilities and enhanced behaviour, due to the particular muscular structure and sensory-motor system. Consequently, this marine invertebrate offers inspiration for the design and development of new soft actuation systems, new sensors, smart material, modelling and control systems. The OCTOPUS Integrating Project was not focused only on the study and imitation of one octopus arm, but on the study of the whole octopus body and how its eight arms are coordinated in manipulation and locomotion tasks. This project is expected to achieve new science and new technology.

The new technologies resulted in concern actuation (soft actuators), sensing (distributed flexible tactile sensors), control and robot architectures (distributed control, coordination of many degree of freedom), materials (with variable stiffness), mechanisms (soft-bodied structures), kinematics models.

The final robotic octopus is capable of locomotion on different substrates, of dexterous manipulation by coordinating the flexible eight arms, or of anchoring in order to exert forces on external environment varying arms stiffness.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Richard Bonser
Dr Richard Bonser -

Related Research Group(s)


Design for Sustainability - We focus on developing the theory and practice required to design solutions that foster environmental, socio-ethical and economic sustainability in areas ranging from materials and manufacturing to products, services, business models, bottom-up initiatives and socio-technical systems.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 28/01/2021