Octopus-inspired robotic device

Speaking of octopuses, the ability for the animals to squeeze through narrow openings has inspired the creation of a new surgical robotic device that can squeeze into a patient's body.

An EU team created STIFFness controllable Flexible and Learnable manipulator for surgical OPerations, dubbed "STIFF-FLOP", made from silicone. Unlike conventional robots used during surgeries, the idea behind STIFF-FLOP is to be able to navigate around organs inside the body and minimize potential damage to healthy tissues. Its movements are controlled by pneumatic actuators. To create stiffness, they developed chambers filled with small granules that were flexible like balloons. Removing air from the chamber compresses the granules together creating the stiffness (think vacuum-sealed coffee, which happened to inspire the technique called granular jamming). Adding air, thus allows for more flexibility.


King's College, London

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Oh man... I saw this in a comic. Someone better get bitten by a radioactive spider soon.

By Nick DeNItto (not verified) on 07 Jun 2015 #permalink

.......Just to say very interesting story.