Octopus Arm Inspires Future Surgical Tool

Octopus arm inspires future surgical tool

A robotic arm that can bend, stretch and squeeze through cluttered environments has been created by a group of researchers from Italy.

Robotic arm

Credit: Tommaso Ranzani

Inspired by the eight arms of an octopus, the device has been specifically designed for surgical operations to enable surgeons to easily access remote, confined regions of the body and, once there, manipulate soft organs without damaging them.

It is believed the device could reduce the number of instruments – and therefore entry incisions – necessary in surgical operations, with part of the arm being used to manipulate organs while another part of the arm operates.


The device  holds a key advantage over traditional surgical tools by way of its ability to quickly transform from a bending, flexible instrument into a stiff and rigid one.

Lead author of the study Dr Tommaso Ranzani said: "The human body represents a highly challenging and non-structured environment, where the capabilities of the octopus can provide several advantages with respect to traditional surgical tools.

 "Generally, the octopus has no rigid structures and can thus adapt the shape of its body to its environment. Taking advantage of the lack of rigid skeletal support, the eight highly flexible and long arms can twist, change their length, or bend in any direction at any point along the arm."

  Source IOP institute of physics(Prepared by science and technology information center)