Multi-Module Variable Stiffness Manipulator

This project presents a soft multi-multimodule manipulator with a controllable stiffness. The materials and design are bioinspired and try to reproduce some biological capabilities of the octopus, such as elongation, omni-directional bending and stiffness variation.

The manipulator integrates three modules made by Silicone Ecoflex 0050. The arm is pneumatically actuated with low pressures (0 - 650 mbar) and it is able to bend and elongate. An external braided sheath optimizes the 3D motion performance. A granular jamming mechanism is integrated inside each module allowing the stiffness tuning of the manipulator.

With appropriate modifications, the manipulator can be used for manipulation of objects, exploration of unknown environments or surgical procedures. In the Case Study section a medical application is presented.

Bioinspired multi-module manipulator

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