Development of a Tendon Driven Variable Stiffness Continuum Robot with Layer Jamming

12/10/2019
by   Zhong Ouyang, et al.
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The purpose of this research is to design, fabricate and test a tendon driven a continuum soft robot with three modular segments, each of which has a tunable stiffness enabled by layer jamming technology. Compared with previous studies, the robotic arm design of this project has a modular structure, which means the length of the robotic arm can be adjusted by addition of extra arm modules/segments to the existing robotic prototype. Furthermore, the new arm prototype supports motion within a 3-dimensional space. To achieve the goals, the design and fabrication for the variable stiffness robotic arm with compliant main structure and layer jamming mechanism has already been finished. Design and fabrication of the connector has also been finished to integrate several link modules into one robotic arm with multiple segments. The actuator located at the base of the arm has already been designed and tested. Finally, a stiffness test of one arm segment was conducted to verifying the load carrying capacity of the variable stiffness robotic arm, then the stiffness ratio of the layer jammed structure was calculated to analyze the stiffness improvement compared with unstiffened soft robot.

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