Wishing to expand upon the variety of grippers already available in the industrial automation sector, German company Festo has come out with the OctopusGripper, a robotic arm resembling an octopus tentacle. Powered by compressed air, the gripper can bend inward and wrap around items with ease, using two rows of suction cups to attach to objects.
What makes the OctopusGripper different from competing products, according to the company, is the arm’s ability to perform a wide range of tasks. In contrast, the grippers already on the market have specific shapes and purposes, and hence, must be replaced if another task is required to be performed.
However, the very idea of a robotic octopus arm wrapping around objects might bring a sense of trepidation among users, something Festo is well aware of. Thus, the company notes that the OctopusGripper is not harmful to humans, and that the arm’s soft and elastic structure makes it an ideal product to use alongside humans. Furthermore, the company is pitching the product as having great potential for collaborative working. I could imagine this arm being used not only in factories, but also in hospitals, shops, and even restaurants.
If Festo can successfully combine its expertise in pneumatic technologies with good design sense and create a safe, affordable, and effective product, we may see use of such devices proliferate and create a future in which routine, as well as more important tasks, are taken care of by robotic arms.