Octopus Gloves

Octopus man, octopus man, does whatever an octopus can! 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

As a kid, did you ever swim to the bottom of the pool to grab a toy? Pretty hard, wasn’t it. What can we learn about grabbing things underwater from an octopus??

Enter Sean Frey of Iowa State University and team. They designed gloves that mimic an octopus’s suckers! The gloves use switchable adhesives which attach to and detach from an object ON DEMAND. It’s controlled by light detection sensors that can determine the proximity of objects.

Upon contact, the sensors trigger a pressure change that activates suction, grabbing the object. To let go, the wearer simply triggers a release of pressure to deactivate the suction.

The creators expect this technology to aid in underwater research and rescue missions. It may even be adapted for robots to use in place of humans!

This is one sticky situation that seems to be going SWIMMINGLY!

Reference: Frey, S. T., Haque, A. B., Tutika, R., Krotz, E. V., Lee, C., Haverkamp, C. B., Markvicka, E. J., & Bartlett, M. D. (2022). Octopus-inspired adhesive skins for intelligent and rapidly switchable underwater adhesion. Science Advances, 8(28). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abq1905