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Tendon-Based Stiffening for a Pneumatically Actuated Soft Manipulator

Shiva, A; Stilli, A; Noh, Y; Faragasso, A; Falco, ID; Gerboni, G; Cianchetti, M; ... Wurdemann, HA; + view all (2016) Tendon-Based Stiffening for a Pneumatically Actuated Soft Manipulator. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters , 1 (2) pp. 632-637. 10.1109/LRA.2016.2523120. Green open access

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Abstract

There is an emerging trend toward soft robotics due to its extended manipulation capabilities compared to traditionally rigid robot links, showing promise for an extended applicability to new areas. However, as a result of the inherent property of soft robotics being less rigid, the ability to control/obtain higher overall stiffness when required is yet to be further explored. In this letter, an innovative design is introduced which allows varying the stiffness of a continuum silicon-based manipulator and proves to have potential for applications in Minimally Invasive Surgery. Inspired by muscular structures occurring in animals such as the octopus, we propose a hybrid and inherently antagonistic actuation scheme. In particular, the octopus makes use of this principle activating two sets of muscles-longitudinal and transverse muscles-thus, being capable of controlling the stiffness of parts of its arm in an antagonistic fashion. Our designed manipulator is pneumatically actuated employing chambers embedded within the robot's silicone structure. Tendons incorporated in the structure complement the pneumatic actuation placed inside the manipulator's wall to allow variation of overall stiffness. Experiments are carried out by applying an external force in different configurations while changing the stiffness by means of the two actuation mechanisms. Our test results show that dual, antagonistic actuation increases the load bearing capabilities for soft continuum manipulators and thus their range of applications.

Type: Article
Title: Tendon-Based Stiffening for a Pneumatically Actuated Soft Manipulator
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1109/LRA.2016.2523120
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/LRA.2016.2523120
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 IEEE. This is the accepted manuscript version of the article published in IEEE Robotics And Automation Letters; the published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/LRA.2016.2523120. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
Keywords: Biologically-inspired robots, soft material robotics, tendon/wire mechanism, hydraulic/pneumatic actuators
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Med Phys and Biomedical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1478358
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