Novel design of a soft lightweight pneumatic continuum robot arm with decoupled variable stiffness and positioning

Giannaccini, ME, Xiang, CQ, Atyabi, A, Theodoridis, T, Nefti-Meziani, S and Davis, ST 2017, 'Novel design of a soft lightweight pneumatic continuum robot arm with decoupled variable stiffness and positioning' , Soft Robotics . (In Press)

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Abstract

Soft robot arms possess unique capabilities when it comes to adaptability, flexibility and dexterity. In addition, soft systems that are pneumatically actuated can claim high power to weight ratio. One of the main drawbacks of pneumatically actuated soft arms is that their stiffness cannot be varied independently from their end-effector position in space. The novel robot arm physical design presented in this paper successfully decouples its end-effector positioning from its stiffness. An experimental characterisation of this ability is coupled with a mathematical analysis. The arm combines the light weight, high payload to weight ratio and robustness of pneumatic actuation with the adaptability and versatility of variable stiffness. Light weight is a vital component of the inherent safety approach to physical human-robot interaction. In order to characterise the arm, a neural network analysis of the curvature of the arm for different input pressures is performed. The curvature-pressure relationship is also characterised experimentally.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering > Salford Innovation Research Centre (SIRC)
Journal or Publication Title: Soft Robotics
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert
ISSN: 2169-5172
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Depositing User: WM Taylor
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 10:40
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2017 23:20
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/43504

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