Photos: Amazing Tech Inspired by the Octopus

The octopus's genetic trick could help scientists find better ways to edit human genomes. (Image credit: Sailorr |

Undersea inspiration

Wild Octopus

(Image credit: Mana Photo |

The octopus is inspiring all kinds of technologies, from grasping tentacles and camouflage material to robotic arms and suction cups. Here’s a look at the sophisticated tech that this sea creature has helped unleash in recent years. [Read more about how the octopus has inspired tech innovations]

Camouflage material

Camouflage Tech

(Image credit: J. Rogers, University of Illinois)

Engineers from the University of Houston and University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign made a flexible camouflage system from heat-sensitive dye and light sensors that can automatically match its surroundings.

Suction cups

Suction Cups

(Image credit: Doug Lafon, U.S. Army Research Laboratory)

These self-sealing suction cups designed by U.S. Army researchers for grasping robots are strong enough to hold up a wine bottle.

Suction cups

Tiny Suction Cups

(Image credit: Doug Lafon, U.S. Army Research Laboratory)

Researchers tested four fingertip-size prototype suction cups made from a type of polymer that solidifies under UV light.

Resilient soft robot

Soft Robot

(Image credit: Michael Tolley and Rob Shepherd)

Harvard University scientists started with a soft color-changing robot two years ago and have made a new untethered version that can withstand fire, water, and being run over by a car.

Swimming bot

Swimming Robot

(Image credit: Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas)

Scientists from the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas in Greece tested an eight-arm underwater robot that mimics octopus movements. The bot could help make transporting heavy loads underwater more efficient.

Soft sensing

Sensor-laden Robot Arm

(Image credit: Kohei Nakajima)

Researchers at the University of Zurich, in Switzerland, are calculating the dynamics of a sensor-laden arm made from silicone in an effort to make soft interfaces for robots more intelligent.

Wearable robotic arms

Robotic Arms

(Image credit: MIT d’Arbeloff Laboratory)

A team from MIT’s d’Arbeloff Laboratory is making prototypes for extra body-mounted robotic limbs that could one day help workers perform repetitive, difficult tasks.

Wearable robotic arms

Robotic Limbs

(Image credit: MIT d’Arbeloff Laboratory)

The robotic limbs can be mounted either on the shoulders or at the waist, the researchers said.

Marine operations


(Image credit: PoseiDRONE)

The PoseiDRONE project is developing an octopus-type robot made from up to 90 percent soft materials for undertaking risky underwater jobs.

Soft endoscope

Soft Endoscope

(Image credit: STIFF-FLOP)

The European STIFF-FLOP project is working on a soft, flexible endoscope inspired by octopus arms and elephant trunks that could be used for minimally invasive surgery.

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