The aim of this paper is to present the design of a new long-range robotic arm based on an inflatable structure. Inflatable robotics has potential for improved large payload-to-weight ratios, safe collision, and inspection in areas inaccessible to human beings as in nuclear plants. The robot presented here is intended to operate inspection or maintenance missions in critical installation taking care to not collide with its environment. It is made with innovative inflatable joints and an original actuation system. Prototypes of this inflatable manipulator were constructed using two different manufacturing procedures. Using ls-dyna nonlinear dynamic finite element modeling we have numerically analyzed the specific geometry and dynamical behavior of the resulting joints. The simulations have given insight into understanding the joint bending process and have revealed guidance for optimizing the conception.

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