Automation specialist Festo has revealed its latest creation, a pneumatic robot that takes cues from the movements of an elephant’s trunk and an octopus’s tentacles.
The BionicMotionRobot can travel through 12 degrees of freedom and lift payloads equal to is own weight of 3kg. It’s composed of three modular segments, each of which contains four pneumatic bellows made from an elastomer. According to Festo, the bellows are covered with a special 3D textile knitted fabric that mimics tentacle muscles, allowing movement in the desired direction while restricting it in others.
Multiple attachments can be fixed to the end of the arm, including a vacuum suction cup, a robotic hand, and the company’s OctopusGripper which can gently grasp and release objects. Festo says the robot could be used for mundane or dangerous factory processes, as well as for collaborative work alongside humans.