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Biomimetics 2018, 3(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics3010003

Modular Continuum Manipulator: Analysis and Characterization of Its Basic Module

1
Center for Micro-BioRobotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, 56025 Pontedera, Italy
2
The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, 56025 Pontedera, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Robotics)
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Abstract

We present the basic module of a modular continuum arm (soft compliant manipulator for broad applications (SIMBA)). SIMBA is a robotic arm with a hybrid structure, namely a combination of rigid and soft components, which makes the arm highly versatile, dexterous, and robust. These key features are due to the design of its basic module, which is characterized by a three-dimensional workspace with a constant radius around its rotation axis, large and highly repeatable bending, complete rotation, and passive stiffness. We present an extensive analysis and characterization of the basic module of the SIMBA arm in terms of design, fabrication, kinematic model, stiffness, and bending behavior. All the theoretical models presented were validated with empirical results. Our findings show a positional typical error of less than ≈6% in module diameter (highly repeatable) with a passive stiffness of 0.8 N/mm (≈1 kg load). Our aim is to demonstrate that this kind of robotic element can be exploited as an elementary module of a more complex structure, which can be used in any application requiring high directional stiffness but without the need for an active stiffness mechanism, as is the case in daily activities (e.g., door opening, water pouring, obstacle avoidance, and manipulation tasks). View Full-Text
Keywords: continuum manipulator; soft robot; modular arm; compliant structure; large deformation; constant curvature; tendon-driven actuation; kinematic modeling; planar spring; beam theory continuum manipulator; soft robot; modular arm; compliant structure; large deformation; constant curvature; tendon-driven actuation; kinematic modeling; planar spring; beam theory
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Mishra, A.K.; Mondini, A.; Del Dottore, E.; Sadeghi, A.; Tramacere, F.; Mazzolai, B. Modular Continuum Manipulator: Analysis and Characterization of Its Basic Module. Biomimetics 2018, 3, 3.

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