The octopus was the inspiration, ten years ago, for the world's first soft robot built from silicone. Researcher Cecilia Laschi discusses how this new type of robots allowed researchers to develop simpler control and sensory-motor behaviour in robots that those built from rigid pieces.

Picture of an octopus

Octopus was a FP7 FET-Proactive "Embodied Intelligence" project that ran from 2009 to 2013. 

Its goal was to investigate and understand the key principles of the octopus body and brain, by building a soft arm robot able to move in water, elongate its arms to reach and grasp.

Octopus brought together an interdisciplinary team of roboticists, engineers, mathematitians, biologists and neuroscientists, led by Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa, Italy) and 6 other partners from Israel, Switzerland, Italy, United Kingdom and Greece.  

10-years on, Cecilia Laschi, the project's coordinator, reflects on the impacts that the project has had in the field of robotics and thanks the FET program for its continued support.

More information can be found in this article and by watching the  video featuring Cecilia Laschi.