Multisection continuum arms offer complementary characteristics to those of traditional rigid-bodied robots. Inspired by biological appendages, such as elephant trunks and octopus arms, these robots trade rigidity for compliance and accuracy for safety and, therefore, exhibit strong potential for applications in human-occupied spaces. Prior work has demonstrated their superiority in operation in congested spaces and manipulation of irregularly shaped objects. However, they are yet to be widely applied outside laboratory spaces. One key reason is that, due to compliance, they are difficult to control. Sophisticated and numerically efficient dynamic models are a necessity to implement dynamic control. In this paper, we propose a novel numerically stable center-of-gravity-based dynamic model for variable-length multisection continuum arms. The model can accommodate continuum robots having any number of sections with varying physical dimensions. The dynamic algorithm is of O(n2) complexity, runs at 9.5 kHz, simulates six to eight times faster than real time for a three-section continuum robot, and, therefore, is ideally suited for real-time control implementations. The model accuracy is validated numerically against an integral-dynamic model proposed by the authors and experimentally for a three-section pneumatically actuated variable-length multisection continuum arm. This is the first sub-real-time dynamic model based on a smooth continuousmore »
Information Processing Capability of Soft Continuum Arms
Soft Continuum arms, such as trunk and tentacle robots, can be considered as the “dual” of traditional rigid-bodied robots in terms of manipulability, degrees of freedom, and compliance. Introduced two decades ago, continuum arms have not yet realized their full potential, and largely remain as laboratory curiosities. The reasons for this lag rest upon their inherent physical features such as high compliance which contribute to their complex control problems that no research has yet managed to surmount. Recently, reservoir computing has been suggested as a way to employ the body dynamics as a computational resource toward implementing compliant body control. In this paper, as a first step, we investigate the information processing capability of soft continuum arms. We apply input signals of varying amplitude and bandwidth to a soft continuum arm and generate the dynamic response for a large number of trials. These data is aggregated and used to train the readout weights to implement a reservoir computing scheme. Results demonstrate that the information processing capability varies across input signal bandwidth and amplitude. These preliminary results demonstrate that soft continuum arms have optimal bandwidth and amplitude where one can implement reservoir computing.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- 2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft)
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- 441 to 447
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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