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Continuum robots are a type of robot composed of multiple sections that bend continuously along their elastic structures. Because of this, these robots are typically referred to as “snake-like”. Due to their soft structure, continuum robots have many significant advantages over conventional serial robots: flexibility, compliance, and dexterity. With these capabilities, continuum robots are well-suited for minimally invasive surgery, search and rescue operations, and a variety of inspection tasks. However, the additional complexity of continuum robots introduces a new set of synthesis challenges as compared to their rigid counterparts. In this research, we focus on the inverse kinematics (IK) problem as a first step in addressing the synthesis (or design) challenge for creating a continuum robot. The IK problem seeks to determine how to position a robot given a desired location and/or an orientation for the gripper at the end of the robot. The IK problem for complicated systems like a continuum robot is typically solved with time-consuming and complicated numerical methods. This research approaches a novel and fast method to solve the IK problem by exploiting the snake-like curve, called the backbone, described by a configuration of the robot. Using techniques from spatial rigid-body shape-changing mechanism theory, this research intends to reduce the complexity of calculating an approximate solution to this IK challenge.
Andrew P. Murray, Dave Harry Myszka
Primary Advisor's Department
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering
"Kinematic Synthesis in the Design of Continuum Robots" (2022). Stander Symposium Projects. 2746.