That’s One Classy Cephalopod

By: John A. Lanier

You would be smart to consider octopi for inspiration if you were a practicing biomimic – especially if the design question you are asking is “how would nature efficiently navigate confined aqueous spaces like the piping in municipal water systems?”

The octopus isn’t my favorite animal, but it’s dang close. Octopi are incredibly intelligent, strong, and curious. They can solve puzzles and camouflage themselves. Plus, they carry around ink and use it as a “smoke screen” to get away from bad guys, which is awesome/cool/wicked/baller/rad/boss/groovy/righteous/neato burrito (depending on your decade/part of the country/hokeyness).  Let’s take a deep dive (teehee) into the myriad tricks of which the humble octopus is capable.

Here’s an octopus figuring out how to get into a crab trap for an easy meal, and then get back out without getting caught. Here’s an octopus opening a plastic bottle to get the treat inside. Here’s the inverse of that – an octopus unscrewing a jar from the inside. Here’s an octopus escaping a boat it got stuck on through a tiny little hole. And here’s an octopus chilling in its aquarium before ATTACKING AND EATING A SHARK!

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