Design and experimental testing of the OctArm soft robot manipulator

Michael D. Grissom, Vilas Chitrakaran, Dustin Dienno, Matthew Csencits, Michael Pritts, Bryan Jones, William McMahan, Darren Dawson, Christopher D. Rahn, Jan Walker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

111 Scopus citations


This paper describes the development of the octopus biology inspired OctArm series of soft robot manipulators. Each OctArm is constructed using air muscle extensors with three control channels per section that provide two axis bending and extension. Within each section, mesh and plastic coupler constraints prevent extensor buckling. OctArm IV is comprised of four sections connected by endplates, providing twelve degrees of freedom. Performance of OctArm IV is characterized in a lab environment. Using only 4.13 bar of air pressure, the dexterous distal section provides 66% extension and 380 of rotation in less than.5 seconds. OctArm V has three sections and, using 8.27 bar of air pressure, the strong proximal section provides 890 N and 250 N of vertical and transverse load capacity, respectively. In addition to the in-lab testing, OctArm V underwent a series of field trials including open-air and in-water field tests. Outcomes of the trials, in which the manipulator demonstrated the ability for adaptive and novel manipulation in challenging environments, are described OctArm VI is designed and constructed based on the in-lab performance, and the field testing of its predecessors. Implications for the deployment of soft robots in military environments are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnmanned Systems Technology VIII
StatePublished - Sep 18 2006
EventUnmanned Systems Technology VIII - Kissimmee, FL, United States
Duration: Apr 17 2006Apr 20 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume6230 II
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherUnmanned Systems Technology VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityKissimmee, FL

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Design and experimental testing of the OctArm soft robot manipulator'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this