skip to main content

Title: Tractable and Intuitive Dynamic Model for Soft Robots via the Recursive Newton-Euler Algorithm
Because of the complex nature of soft robots, formulating dynamic models that are simple, efficient, and sufficiently accurate for simulation or control is a difficult task. This paper introduces an algorithm based on a recursive Newton-Euler (RNE) approach that enables an accurate and tractable lumped parameter dynamic model. This model scales linearly in computational complexity with the number of discrete segments. We validate this model by comparing it to actual hardware data from a three-joint continuum soft robot (with six degrees of freedom represented in a constant curvature kinematic model). The results show that this RNE-based model can be computed faster than real-time. We also show that with minimal system identification, a simulation performed using the dynamic model matches the real robot data with a median error of 3.15 degrees.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2024792 1935312
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
416 to 422
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Simulating soft robots in cluttered environments remains an open problem due to the challenge of capturing complex dynamics and interactions with the environment. Fur- thermore, fast simulation is desired for quickly exploring robot behaviors in the context of motion planning. In this paper, we examine a particular class of inflated-beam soft growing robots called “vine robots,” and present a dynamics simulator that captures general behaviors, handles robot-object interactions, and runs faster than real time. The simulator framework uses a simplified multi-link, rigid-body model with contact constraints. To bridge the sim-to-real gap, we develop methods for fitting model parameters based on video data of a robot in motion and in contact with an environment. We provide examples of simulations, including several with fit parameters, to show the qualitative and quantitative agreement between simulated and real behaviors. Our work demonstrates the capabilities of this high-speed dynamics simulator and its potential for use in the control of soft robots. 
    more » « less
  2. Underactuation is a core challenge associated with controlling soft and continuum robots, which possess theoretically infinite degrees of freedom, but few actuators. However, m actuators may still be used to control a dynamic soft robot in an m-dimensional output task space. In this paper we develop a task-space control approach for planar continuum robots that is robust to modeling error and requires very little sensor information. The controller is based on a highly underactuated discrete rod mechanics model in maximal coordinates and does not require conversion to a classical robot dynamics model form. This promotes straightforward control design, implementation and efficiency. We perform input-output feedback linearization on this model, apply sliding mode control to increase robustness, and formulate an observer to estimate the full state from sparse output measurements. Simulation results show exact task-space reference tracking behavior can be achieved even in the presence of significant modeling error, inaccurate initial conditions, and output-only sensing. 
    more » « less
  3. Soft robots have recently drawn extensive attention thanks to their unique ability of adapting to complicated environments. Soft robots are designed in a variety of shapes of aiming for many different applications. However, accurate modelling and control of soft robots is still an open problem due to the complex robot structure and uncertain interaction with the environment. In fact, there is no unified framework for the modeling and control of generic soft robots. In this paper, we present a novel data-driven machine learning method for modeling a cable-driven soft robot. This machine learning algorithm, named deterministic learning (DL), uses soft robot motion data to train a radial basis function neural network (RBFNN). The soft robot motion dynamics are then guaranteed to be accurately identified, represented, and stored as an RBFNN model with converged constant neural network weights. To validate our method, We have built a simulated soft robot almost identical to our real inchworm soft robot, and we have tested the DL algorithm in simulation. Furthermore, a neural network weight combining technique is used which can extract and combine useful dynamics information from multiple robot motion trajectories. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Soft robots promise improved safety and capabil- ity over rigid robots when deployed in complex, delicate, and dynamic environments. However the infinite degrees of freedom and highly nonlinear dynamics of these systems severely com- plicate their modeling and control. As a step toward addressing this open challenge, we apply the data-driven, Hankel Dynamic Mode Decomposition (HDMD) with time delay observables to the model identification of a highly inertial, helical soft robotic arm with a high number of underactuated degrees of freedom. The resulting model is linear and hence amenable to control via a Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR). Using our test bed device, a dynamic, lightweight pneumatic fabric arm with an inertial mass at the tip, we show that the combination of HDMD and LQR allows us to command our robot to achieve arbitrary poses using only open loop control. We further show that Koopman spectral analysis gives us a dimensionally reduced basis of modes which decreases computational complexity without sacrificing predictive power. 
    more » « less
  5. Model-based optimal control of soft robots may enable compliant, underdamped platforms to operate in a repeatable fashion and effectively accomplish tasks that are otherwise impossible for soft robots. Unfortunately, developing accurate analytical dynamic models for soft robots is time-consuming, difficult, and error-prone. Deep learning presents an alternative modeling approach that only requires a time history of system inputs and system states, which can be easily measured or estimated. However, fully relying on empirical or learned models involves collecting large amounts of representative data from a soft robot in order to model the complex state space–a task which may not be feasible in many situations. Furthermore, the exclusive use of empirical models for model-based control can be dangerous if the model does not generalize well. To address these challenges, we propose a hybrid modeling approach that combines machine learning methods with an existing first-principles model in order to improve overall performance for a sampling-based non-linear model predictive controller. We validate this approach on a soft robot platform and demonstrate that performance improves by 52% on average when employing the combined model. 
    more » « less