South Dakota-based resin 3D printer manufacturer B9Creations development of 3D printed adhesive skins biomimicking octopus tentacles.
“This groundbreaking display of biomimicry has the ability to tackle complex human challenges and has immense potential in several realms,” claim B9Creations. “This combination of adhesion tunability, sensing, and control is unparalleled in synthetic adhesives.”
These skins are said to possess the advanced manipulation, sensory, and control characteristics of octopuses and other cephalopods, offering strong and reversible underwater adhesion. The company claims that this new development has the potential to serve a number of advanced applications, including underwater adhesives, medical devices, underwater construction, marine exploration, diving and swimming equipment, and within the national defense sector.
Octopus inspired 3D printed skins
Whilst a number of projects have already drawn inspiration from the mechanisms and characteristics of cephalopods, current adhesive-based manipulators generally lack sensing and control capabilities. Those which do, utilize bulky optical and sound-based proximity sensors. Given their size, integration of these sensors into synthetic adhesives is restricted, and their manipulation and grasping capabilities are limited.
This new approach incorporates switchable adhesive components alongside an integrated sensory system. Processing and control mechanisms for automatic adhesion activation and release are also incorporated. It is claimed that this tightly integrated system can intelligently control multiple adhesive elements, allowing for dexterous manipulation within both dry and wet environments.
In fact, the research team has already created a wearable adhesive glove. Each finger of the glove incorporates an adhesive element created using molds produced by B9Creations 3D printers. Micro-LIDAR optical sensors are also added for object proximity detection, which combine with the rapidly switchable adhesives to enable real-time object manipulation. It is claimed that these gloves would provide better grip for swimmers and divers. Other biomimicking wearables, such as wetsuits and swimming caps, could also be developed to reduce drag, allowing the user to move more efficiently through water.
Read the full article, published by 3D Printing Industry, here.