Robot tentacle — part one

I’m in a class concerning soft robotics, where we try to take advantage of compliant and flexible materials to create novel robotics solutions.

This is my first time ever trying robotics, so it’s an interesting way to dive in!

I started to look at muscular ‘hydrostats’ in animals. Take a look at the wiki page. Think elephant trunks, octopus tentacles, human tongues, etc. They amazingly produce fine-grain control with no support structure besides muscle. I’d like to try and re-create this.

To get some ideas on the table, I tried to emulate lengths of muscle by simply bundling some paracord, tying off the end, and seeing what happens when I pull on a few of them.

tentacles, version 0

The action was there! The ‘tentacle’ certainly moved when I pulled. However, it seemed like the best control would come from leveraging the exterior of the shape, so I designed towards this.

A quick sketch of ideas

Casting some cylindrical sections

This design at least demonstrates that the principle is possible! Onward to another iteration.

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