BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) -- A team of Chinese postgraduates have created an octopus-inspired soft robotic arm that can be used to heal injuries.
The students, from Beijing-based Beihang University, exhibited their prototype Thursday after developing it with a foreign firm.
Soft robots are constructed with materials like silicone, plastic, fabric, rubber or compliant mechanical parts like springs.
"The softness makes it possible for the robots to work more effectively and safely with humans and can be used for rehabilitation and recovery or in the service sector," said Wang Tianmiao, a robotics engineer at the university.
The robotic soft arm is inspired by the tentacles of octopus, Wang said, "It can bend and swirl quickly, and the suction cups help it adhere tightly to objects of different shapes and sizes."
In five to ten years, the robotic arm is expected to be used in minimal-invasive surgery and athletic rehabilitation, said Wen Li, associate professor in Beihang University and head of the team.