Continuum robots are becoming increasingly popular due to the capabilities they offer, especially when operating in cluttered environments, where their dexterity, maneuverability, and compliance represent a significant advantage. The subset of continuum robots that also belong to the soft robots category has seen rapid development in recent years, showing great promise. However, despite the significant attention received by these devices, various aspects of their kinematics remain unresolved, limiting their adoption and obscuring their potential. In this paper, the kinematics of continuum robots with the ability to bend and extend are studied, and analytical, closed-form solutions to both the direct and inverse kinematics are presented. The results obtained expose the redundancies of these devices, which are subsequently explored. The solution to the inverse kinematics derived here is shown to provide an analytical, closed-form expression describing the curve associated with these redundancies, which is also presented and analyzed. A condition on the reachable end-effector poses for robots with six actuation degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) is then distilled. The kinematics of robot layouts with over six actuation DOFs are subsequently considered. Finally, simulated results of the inverse kinematics are provided, verifying the study.
Kinematics of Continuum Robots With Constant Curvature Bending and Extension Capabilities
Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received April 18, 2018; final manuscript received August 11, 2018; published online November 19, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Guimin Chen.
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Garriga-Casanovas, A., and Rodriguez y Baena, F. (November 19, 2018). "Kinematics of Continuum Robots With Constant Curvature Bending and Extension Capabilities." ASME. J. Mechanisms Robotics. February 2019; 11(1): 011010. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4041739
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