"The rigidity of current surgical instruments means it is sometimes only possible to remove part of a brain tumour. Limitations such as these led Professor Paul Breedveld to develop a fundamentally new class of flexible surgical instruments, inspired by the anatomy of octopus tentacles. [...] The tentacles of an octopus are made up of an ingenious composition of muscles which work together in various layers, rings, bundles and packages. Breedveld's early instruments were based on a single ring of steel cables surrounded by coiled springs, whereas the new instruments are based on a so-called dendritic mechanism, with branched extensions. They consist of a flexible stem which ends in a number of manoeuvrable arms. Each arm is made up of a densely structured package of flexible steering elements. The instruments also possess shape memory, therefore they 'know' where we have been."