Engineers from The Ohio State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed an octopus-like robot that is capable of twisting, bending and stretching without a motor.

According to its developers, the robotic arm, which features embedded magnetic particles, moves in response to changes in the surrounding magnetic field.

An octopus-inspired, origami robotic arm. Source: Shuai Wu.An octopus-inspired, origami robotic arm. Source: Shuai Wu.

The robotic arm is comprised of different, individual segments of hexagonal-shaped, soft dual silicon plates connected by tilted plastic panels that mimic an origami-like pattern.

Once placed in a controllable magnetic field, each segment could be individually controlled due to each segment containing its own magnetic particles, reportedly giving the robot arm 360° of movement. The robot arm was also capable of changing its length by compressing its segments via twisting or pulling them to elongate the arm.

The researchers suggest that computerizing the magnetic field could eventually enable very fine control of the arm via a game-like controller.

To see the stretchable origami robotic arm with omnidirectional bending and twisting, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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