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Drain cleaner robot inspired by octopus tentacle

28 Sep 2021

Zong from the USA invented a soft drain cleaner inspired by the tentacles on an octopus

Taking inspiration from observations of the natural world, the design in this concept is based on the tentacles on an octopus. The BBC micro:bit is used to control four motors than can delicately move the soft drain cleaner around intricate spaces.

The cleaning device was designed for clearing drains, but Zong thinks it could also be used on a much smaller scale for medical surgery.

Awarding best original idea in paper prototype category

This creative idea is the winning entry in the 2021 8 to 14-year-old paper prototype category for North America. It aimed to solve an issue related to Global Goal 6, Clean water and sanitation. 

I am very excited and proud to win.

Zong, winner 8 to 14-year-old paper prototype category for North America.

Zong with his award-winning plans.
Zong's design
Zong's design

Zong explained, "An octopus is the most flexible animal in the world and, because of its non-bone body, can squeeze through any hole no matter how small it is… By making a replica of the tentacle, we can use its flexibility to wiggle its way through the twisted tunnels and wipe off the gunk that clogs the pipes."

The do your :bit challenge is an annual competition which sets young people the challenge to innovate and design solutions relevant to the impacts of the Global Goals that are meaningful to them.

Children and young people innovating with technology

The do your :bit challenge adds social purpose to digital learning and allows students to apply their digital skills to real world solutions. All projects and lesson resources are available for free and entries can be submitted into two age-range categories, 8 to 14-year-olds and 15 to 18-year-olds. 8 to 14-year-olds can submit either a paper prototype or working micro:bit solution.

Read about all of this year’s winning entries.

The next do your :bit challenge opens in early 2022, you can find out more about the challenge and access Global Goals project resources and lessons here.

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