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Modelling and Analysis of the Spital Branched Flexure-Hinge Adjustable-Stiffness Continuum Robot

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Article number97
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/09/2022
Issue number5
Number of pages18
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Continuum robots are increasingly being used in industrial and medical applications due to their high number of degrees of freedom (DoF), large workspace and their ability to operate dexterously. However, the positional accuracy of conventional continuum robots with a backbone structure is usually low due to the low stiffness of the often-lengthy driving cables/tendons. Here, this problem has been solved by integrating additional mechanisms with adjustable stiffness within the continuum robot to improve its stiffness and mechanical performance, thus enabling it to be operated with high accuracy and large payloads. To support the prediction of the improved performance of the adjustable stiffness continuum robot, a kinetostatic model was developed by considering the generalized internal loads that are caused by the deformation of the flexure-hinge mechanism and the structural stiffening caused by the external loads on the end-effector. Finally, experiments were conducted on physical prototypes of 2-DoF and 6-DoF continuum robots to validate the model. It was found that the proposed kinetostatic model validates experimental observations within an average deviation of 9.1% and 6.2% for the 2-DoF and 6-DoF continuum robots, respectively. It was also found that the kinematic accuracy of the continuum robots can be improved by a factor of 32.8 by adding the adjustable stiffness mechanisms.