Soft robotic manipulators are continuum robots made of soft materials that undergo continuous elastic deformation and produce motion with a smooth backbone curve. These manipulators offer significant advantages over traditional manipulators due to their ability to conform to their surroundings, move with dexterity and manipulate objects of widely varying size using whole arm manipulation. Theoretically, soft robots have infinite degrees of freedom (dof), but the number of sensors and actuators are limited. Many dofs of soft robots are not directly observable and/or controllable, complicating shape sensing and controlling. In this paper, we present two methods of shape sensing for soft robotic manipulators based on a geometrically exact mechanical model. The first method use s load cells mounted at the base of the manipulator and the second method makes use of cable encoders running through the length of the manipulator. Simulation results show an endpoint localization error of less than 3% of manipulator length.

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