The Octa-Glove, made by Octopus, helps to grasp underwater objects: All You Need to Know

The Octa-Glove, made by Octopus, helps to grasp underwater objects: All You Need to Know ...

Researchers at Virginia Tech have developed an Octa-Glove, a special glove that was inspired by octopuses. While humans have developed neoprene suits to protect their bodies underwater, our hands lack tools to help us hold objects underwater. These include flat objects, cylinders, double-curved portion objects, and an ultrasoft hydrogen ball, as well as larger objects like a box, plate, and bowl.

Researchers sought help from nature to assist in resolving the dilemma of keeping objects under water. An octopus has eight long arms that have suckers on them. These suckers are controlled by the animals muscular and nervous systems.

The adhesive certainly stands out, swiftly activating and releasing adhesion on demand. What is equally fascinating, however, is that an octopus controls over 2,000 suckers across eight arms by processing information from diverse chemical and mechanical sensors, according to Michael Bartlett, assistant professor at Virginia Tech.

Researchers reimagined the suckers using rubber stalks capped with soft, actuated membranes in order to recreate the gripping ability of the octopus in making the gloves. With the design, they aimed at making the suckers as effective as the ones in octopuses.

The researchers attached the glove to micro-LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) optical proximity sensors that could detect the distance to the object. A microcontroller was used to connect the suckers to the LIDAR sensors, thereby paring the object sensing with the sucker engagement and replicating the octopus' muscular and nervous system.

The use of sensors to activate the suckers made the gloves more adaptable to the environment. Researchers used synthetic suckers and sensors to ensure that the person wearing the glove feels comfortable holding objects. The sensors and suckers were integrated together to give grip on different objects.

It makes handling wet or underwater objects much easier and more natural. The electronics can activate and release adhesion quickly. Simply touch an object, and the glove does the work to grasp, according to Bartlett.

The researchers placed the glove to the test, picking up flat objects, cylinders, double-curved portion objects, and an ultrasoft hydrogen ball. The glove was able to lift larger items, including a box, plate, and bowl, while convex and spherical objects were also lifted with the glove.

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