How to use biology as an inspiration for Soft Robots?
We will focus on the neuro-sensory-mechanics of two exquisite biological gripping systems: the toe pads of tree frogs, and the completely soft muscular arms of the cuttlefish. The soft appendices of the cuttlefish have in principle an infinite number of degrees of freedom, and therefore the ultimate example for a soft robotic limb. Specialised muscles constitute the main component of the appendices. Complex motions result from distributed activations patterns generated by the nervous system that receive input from a multitude of visual, mechanical and chemical sensors. The material properties are actively regulated by the nervous system. Frog and cuttlefish are both able to softly grip wet slippery objects, which is of high relevance for the gentle surgical gripping of delicate tissues in patients and the gentle handling of delicate wet fruits.