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This robot octopus is equal parts awesome and creepy

by Jacob Kleinman | August 28, 2016August 28, 2016 8:00 am PST

Octobot might represent the cutting edge of robotic engineering, but this autonomous 3D-printed octopus is also pretty creepy to look at. Developed by researchers at Harvard, it’s  the first entirely soft autonomous robot thanks to some impressive technology inside.

The palm-sized robot was built using a combination of molding for the body and 3D printing for the legs. The design is totally soft without a hard part in sight, meaning there’s no conventional circuits or batteries. It’s actually powered by gas, which Octobot can autonomously direct around its artificial body.

Octobot isn’t going into mass production and it doesn’t serve any real purpose besides being pretty cool. But it could pave the way for even more impressive robotics down the road.

“This research is a proof of concept,” said Harvard grad student and researcher Ryan Truby. “We hope that our approach for creating autonomous soft robots inspires roboticists, material scientists and researchers focused on advanced manufacturing,”

While we wait for our soft robotic overlords to take over we’ll be watching that video. There’s just something mesmerizing about Octobot that we can’t look away.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...