W. McMahan, B. A. Jones, and I. D. Walker, “Design and implementation of a multi-section continuum robot: Air-Octor,” IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2005.
In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of a novel multi-section, continuous-backbone ("continuum") robot. The design is based on an innovative "hose-in-hose" concept. Its implementation is novel with respect to previous continuum robot designs in that stiffness and extension, in addition to bending, are actively controlled in each section of the robot. This requires a non-trivial extension of previously proposed kinematic models, and poses challenges for real-time control of the robot. We introduce a tangling/untangling algorithm to map between overall cable lengths and per-section cable lengths. Details of the design and its implementation are presented, along with a summary of real-time control issues and experimental results.