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Series Pneumatic Artificial Muscles (sPAMs) and Application to a Soft Continuum Robot.

  • Author(s): Greer, JD
  • Morimoto, TK
  • Okamura, AM
  • Hawkes, EW
  • et al.
Abstract

We describe a new series pneumatic artificial muscle (sPAM) and its application as an actuator for a soft continuum robot. The robot consists of three sPAMs arranged radially round a tubular pneumatic backbone. Analogous to tendons, the sPAMs exert a tension force on the robot's pneumatic backbone, causing bending that is approximately constant curvature. Unlike a traditional tendon driven continuum robot, the robot is entirely soft and contains no hard components, making it safer for human interaction. Models of both the sPAM and soft continuum robot kinematics are presented and experimentally verified. We found a mean position accuracy of 5.5 cm for predicting the end-effector position of a 42 cm long robot with the kinematic model. Finally, closed-loop control is demonstrated using an eye-in-hand visual servo control law which provides a simple interface for operation by a human. The soft continuum robot with closed-loop control was found to have a step-response rise time and settling time of less than two seconds.

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