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Robotics

Does the Octopus Hold the Key To Robot Design? 347

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the or-are-they-just-a-bunch-of-slime dept.
balancedi writes "Simultaneously controling 8 jointless arms without getting them all tangled up is a neat trick that octopuses do with ease. According to a National Geographic article several researchers from around the world think understanding the octopus holds to key to the optimal robot design."
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Does the Octopus Hold the Key To Robot Design?

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  • Re:True Story: (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2005 @12:51PM (#11643090)
    Cephlapods don't tend to live long. Don't know about octopi, but a lot of small squid species only live 2 or 3 years.
  • Octi Movement (Score:5, Informative)

    by Red Weasel (166333) on Friday February 11, 2005 @12:52PM (#11643109) Homepage
    The coolest part about the Movement of Octopus is the fact that only the body desides where to go. It's up to the legs to figure out how they're going to get there.

    If you ever get down the the Aquarium of the Americas you can get a pretty good display of this. Just make sure you make it for one of the feeding times 'cause the feeders do all the classic Octopus tricks(fish in a bottle, fish in a tank, fish with mirrors, mazes, etc).

  • Re:True Story: (Score:5, Informative)

    by avandesande (143899) on Friday February 11, 2005 @12:54PM (#11643137) Journal
    caring for a salt water animal of any kind is a serious and expensive undertaking.

    Also octopus only live a year so they aren't the best pets if you grow attached.
  • Re:True Story: (Score:5, Informative)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:04PM (#11643251) Homepage Journal
    If you don't mind me asking, what happened to 'Cephus'? you speak of her in the past tense.

    She died of old age. When I got her, I had found her on my SCUBA tank after we had returned home. She was soooo tiny (about the size of my thumbnail), and we were miles away from the ocean by that time. I did not want her to die, so we mixed up some artificial sea water and I carried her home to place her in a 100gal aquarium I had. Fed her with feeder goldfish, but clams and crabs purchased from the local pet store was what she really enjoyed. She lived about two years (which is very good for an octopus), grew to about 13 inches and finally died from old age.

  • by ryants (310088) on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:14PM (#11643382)
    Correction: the Greek plural is -podes. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=octopus
  • Plural forms? (Score:5, Informative)

    by NEOtaku17 (679902) on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:18PM (#11643431) Homepage

    Lesson [upenn.edu] on the correct plural version of Octopus. Very interesting read.

  • I'm no etymologist (Score:3, Informative)

    by david duncan scott (206421) on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:24PM (#11643519)
    but isn't it "octopuses" or "octopi"? "Octopodes" is new to me, at any rate.

    Good ol' dictionary.com [reference.com] does list "octopods", but that seems like a generic term for any eight-legged creature, not incorrect for an octopus but not specific either.

    (Mostly OT anecdote: When my older sister first called to announce her engagement to a quadriplegic, my mother, startled, turned to the rest of us and announced, "Nancy's going to marry a quadraped!"

    (We speculated furiously until she hung up and explained-- a dog, perhaps? Horse? Wombat?)

  • Re:True Story: (Score:2, Informative)

    by rramdin (857005) on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:33PM (#11643629)
    Actually, the word octopus derives from the Greek oktopous, -odos (unicode: o)kta/pous), so the plural is octopodes. Many of the words that stem from octopus have endings indicative of a Latin root in English, due to the misconception that it comes from the Latin octopus, -i.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2005 @02:14PM (#11644162)
    There is no generally-agreed plural. Strictly speaking, since it's a Greek word ("Okto", eight, plus "pus", foot) the "correct" plural would be "octopodes". Nobody really likes that, though, and most dictionaries suggest the English neologisms "octopi" or "octopuses". Either is good English usage. (Definitely not "octopii", however, as that would be the plural of "octopius".)
  • Re:True Story: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Johnny5000 (451029) on Friday February 11, 2005 @02:23PM (#11644276) Homepage Journal
    Actually, the word octopus derives from the Greek oktopous, -odos (unicode: o)kta/pous), so the plural is octopodes. Many of the words that stem from octopus have endings indicative of a Latin root in English, due to the misconception that it comes from the Latin octopus, -i.

    From Wikipedia:
    A note on the plural form: Fowler's Modern English Usage states that "the only acceptable plural in English is octopuses", and that octopi is misconceived and octopodes pedantic. The Oxford English Dictionary lists octopuses, octopi, and octopodes (the order reflecting decreasing frequency of use), stating that the last form is rare.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2005 @03:59PM (#11645510)

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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