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Description

This paper describes the design and development of a robot with six soft limbs, with the dual capability of pushing–based locomotion and grasping by wrapping around objects. Specifically, a central platform lodges six silicone limbs, radially distributed, with cables embedded. A new mechanism–specific gait, invariant regarding the number of limbs, has been implemented. Functionally, some limbs provide stability while others push and pull the robot to locomote in the desired direction. Once the robot is close to a target, one limb is elected to wrap around the object and, thanks to the particular limb structure and the soft material, a friction–based grasping is achieved. The robot is inspired by the octopus and implements the key principles of locomotion in this animal, without coping the full body structure. For this reason it works in water, but it is not restricted to this environment. The experiments show the effectiveness of the original solution in locomotion and grasping.

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