A modular soft manipulator with variable stiffness


T. Ranzani, M. Cianchetti, G. Gerboni, I. D. Falco, G. Petroni, and A. Menciassi, “A modular soft manipulator with variable stiffness,” 3rd joint workshop on new technologies for computer/robot assisted surgery. 2013.


This paper presents the design of a single module composing a modular soft variable stiffness manipulator for minimal access surgery. The module exploits flexible fluidic actuation for obtaining multi directional bending and elongation capabilities. A novel flexible crimped braided sheath is introduced in order to increase the performances of the flexible actuator. Granular jamming based stiffening mechanism is used to tune the stiffness of the module. The fabrication of the module is described and the performances in terms of bending, elongation and stiffening are reported.