STIFF-FLOP Surgical Manipulator: Design and Preliminary Motion Evaluation


I. D. Falco, M. Cianchetti, and A. Menciassi, “STIFF-FLOP Surgical Manipulator: Design and Preliminary Motion Evaluation,” The BioRobotics Institute, 2014.


This paper presents a soft multi-module manipulator for minimally invasive surgery (MIS). The design and the materials are bioinspired and try to reproduce some biological capabilities of the octopus, such as elongation, omni-directional bending and stiffness variation. Embedded fluidic chambers allow to pneumatically actuate the manipulator in order to achieve a 3-D motion, while a variable stiffness mechanism based on the granular jamming phenomenon allows to control the stiffness of the arm. The design of three modules integration and the fabrication phases as well as a preliminary study on the 3-module manipulator performance are reported. Elongation and bending have been experimentally evaluated. The arm is 165 mm long and it is able to elongate up to 53.3% of the initial length and to bend up to 248 degrees depending on the combination of the actuated chambers.
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Last updated on 09/18/2015