Two-thirds of an octopus’s neurons are in its arms. Neurons are cells that send nerve signals. You might say each arm has a mind of its own. Octopus arms can untie knots, open childproof bottles, and wrap around prey of many shapes and sizes.
Researchers began by studying the tapering angle of real octopus tentacles. They figured out a design that would work best for bending and grabbing. They also figured out the best arrangement of the ‘suckers.’ Two valves control the Festo Tentacle Gripper. One applies pressure for bending the arm. Another creates the vacuum for the suckers. By changing the pressure and vacuum, the arm can attach to an object, wrap around it, carry it, and release it.
Designers tested the device on many different objects. They tried it on thin plastic sheets, coffee mugs, test tubes, eggs, and even live crabs. They probably even tried it on themselves! Wouldn’t you?