To facilitate sensing and physical interaction in remote and/or constrained environments, high-extension, lightweight robot manipulators are easier to transport and reach substantially further than traditional serial chain manipulators. We propose a novel planar 3-degree-of-freedom manipulator that achieves low weight and high extension through the use of a pair of spooling bistable tapes, commonly used in self-retracting tape measures, which are pinched together to form a reconfigurable revolute joint. The pinching action flattens the tapes to produce a localized bending region, resulting in a revolute joint that can change its orientation by cable tension and its location on the tapes though friction-driven movement of the pinching mechanism. We present the design, implementation, kinematic modeling, stiffness behavior of the revolute joint, and quasi-static performance of this manipulator. In particular, we demonstrate the ability of the manipulator to reach specified targets in free space, reach a 2D target with various orientations, and maintain an end-effector angle or stationary bending point while changing the other. The long-term goal of this work is to integrate the manipulator with an aerial robot to enable more capable aerial manipulation.
Validation of an Extensible Rod Model for Soft continuum Manipulators
Numerous soft and continuum robotic manipulators have demonstrated their potential for compliant operation in highly unstructured environments or near people. Despite their recent popularity, modeling of their smooth bending deformation remains a challenge. For soft continuum manipulators, the widespread, constant curvature approach to modeling is inadequate for modeling some deformations that occur in practice, such as combined bending and twisting deformations. In this paper, we extend the classical Cosserat rod approach to model a variable-length, pneumatic soft continuum arm. We model the deformation of a pneumatically driven soft continuum manipulator, and the model is then compared against experimental data collected from a three degree of freedom, pneumatically actuated, soft continuum manipulator. The model shows good agreement in capturing the overall behavior of the bending deformation, with mean Euclidean error at the tip of the robot of 2.48 cm for a 22 cm long robot. In addition, the model shows good numerical stability for simulating long duration computations.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- 2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft)
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- 711 to 716
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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