Research Papers

On the Kinematics of the Octopus’s Arm

[+] Author and Article Information
Yaron Levinson, Reuven Segev

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University, P.O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel

Note that in order to show the suction elements clearly, the sagittal plane is drawn horizontally in Fig. 2.

The generalization to any other pitch angle is straightforward.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 2(1), 011008 (Nov 24, 2009) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000528 History: Received May 07, 2009; Revised September 29, 2009; Published November 24, 2009

The kinematics of the octopus’s arm is studied from the point of view of robotics. A continuum three-dimensional kinematic model of the arm, based on a nonlinear rod theory, is proposed. The model enables the calculation of the strains in various muscle fibers that are required in order to produce a given configuration of the arm—a solution to the inverse kinematics problem. The analysis of the forward kinematics problem shows that the strains in the muscle fibers at two distinct points belonging to a cross section of the arm determine the curvature and the twist of the arm at that cross section. The octopus’s arm lacks a rigid skeleton and the role of material incompressibility in enabling the configuration control is studied.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

A schematic cross section of an octopus’s arm

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Figure 2

The reference configuration of the arm

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Figure 3

The triads {gi} and {di}(i=1,2,3)

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Figure 4

Illustration of the arm’s configuration depicted by Eq. 61

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Figure 5

(a) Reference configuration; (b) current configuration




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