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Research Papers: Design of Mechanisms and Robotic Systems

Workspace Analysis of Tendon-Driven Continuum Robots Based on Mechanical Interference Identification

[+] Author and Article Information
Kun Cao

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory
and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Tianjin University,
No. 92 Weijin Road, Nankai District,
Tianjin 300072, China
e-mail: k.cao.tju@gmail.com

Rongjie Kang

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory
and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Tianjin University,
No. 92 Weijin Road, Nankai District,
Tianjin 300072, China
e-mail: rjkang@tju.edu.cn

David T. Branson, III

Faculty of Engineering,
University of Nottingham,
University Park,
Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
e-mail: David.Branson@nottingham.ac.uk

Shineng Geng

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory
and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Tianjin University,
No. 92 Weijin Road, Nankai District,
Tianjin 300072, China
e-mail: Andy_2015@tju.edu.cn

Zhibin Song

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory and
Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Tianjin University,
No. 92 Weijin Road, Nankai District,
Tianjin 300072, China
e-mail: songzhibin@tju.edu.cn

Jian S. Dai

Fellow ASME
Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory
and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Tianjin University,
No. 92 Weijin Road, Nankai District,
Tianjin 300072, China
e-mail: jian.dai@kcl.ac.uk

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received October 6, 2016; final manuscript received March 16, 2017; published online April 25, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Oscar Altuzarra.

J. Mech. Des 139(6), 062303 (Apr 25, 2017) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-16-1687; doi: 10.1115/1.4036395 History: Received October 06, 2016; Revised March 16, 2017

Continuum robots have excited increasing attention and efforts from the robotic community due to their high dexterity and safety. This paper proposes a design for a type of multimodule continuum robot equipped with an elastic backbone structure and tendon-driven actuation system. The kinematic model of the robot is formulated where the maximum bending angle of a module is obtained by identifying the interference between the backbone structure and the tendons. A superposition method is then used to determine the configuration space of the robotic module. Finally, an approximation method is presented to estimate the workspace of the tendon-driven continuum robot that reduces the computational complexity in comparison with the previously used scanning method. Experiments are provided to validate the proposed methods.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
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Figures

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Fig. 1

General structure of a tendon-driven continuum robot

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Fig. 2

Design of a tendon-driven continuum robot where Sr = [2, 2, 4]: (a) the CAD model and (b) the prototype

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Fig. 3

Geometrics of a single segment composed of two connecting plates and a helical spring

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Fig. 4

The set of possible configurations, Ω (n = 4)

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Fig. 5

The polar plot of relationship between θFmax(m) versus φF(m) for the top module (k = m) with respect to a0 (a=6.5 mm and l = 15 mm): (a) Sr=[m,s, 4], 1≤q≤s and (b) Sr=[m,s, 3], 1≤q≤s

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Fig. 7

Boundary curves for the module k with various combinations of k and m (a = 6.5 mm, a0 = 5 mm, l = 15 mm, and 1≤q≤s): (a) k=1, m=1, (b) k=1, m=2, (c) k=2, m=3, and (d) k=1, m=3

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Fig. 8

Boundary curves for the module k with various combinations of k and m (n=3,  1≤q≤s,  a=6.5 mm, a0=5 mm, and l=15 mm) : (a) k=1, m=1, (b) k=1, m=2, (c) k=2, m=3, and (d) k=1, m=3

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Fig. 9

Boundary curves for k=1,m=2,  n=3 and 4,  1≤q≤s,a=6.5 mm, a0=5 mm, and l=15mm

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Fig. 10

Distribution of positions of a given robot’s end-effector (section view)

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Fig. 11

Workspace boundary visualization (left: side view and right: top view)

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Fig. 12

Demonstrations of the procedures using the approximation method

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Fig. 13

Procedures of generating an exterior workspace boundary of a given robot

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Fig. 14

Volume of workspace versus ξφF and ξθF

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Fig. 15

Experimental setup

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Fig. 16

Experimental results (W-SM: workspace of the scanning method; W-AM: workspace of the approximation method; KW: kinematic workspace; IFP: interference-free point; and IP interference point)

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