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kinematics and the implementation of an elephant's trunk manipulator and other continuum style robotsTraditionally, robot manipulators have been a simple arrangement of a small number of serially connected links and actuated joints. Though these manipulators prove to be very effective for many tasks, they are not without their limitations, due mainly to their lack of maneuverability or total degrees of freedom. Continuum style (i.e., continuous "back-bone") robots, on the other hand, exhibit a wide range of maneuverability, and can have a large number of degrees of freedom. The motion of continuum style robots is generated through the bending of the robot over a given section; unlike traditional robots where the motion occurs in discrete locations, i.e., joints. The motion of continuum manipulators is often compared to that of biological manipulators such as trunks and tentacles. These continuum style robots can achieve motions that could only be obtainable by a conventionally designed robot with many more degrees of freedom. In this paper we present a detailed formulation and explanation of a novel kinematic model for continuum style robots. The design, construction, and implementation of our continuum style robot called the elephant trunk manipulator is presented. Experimental results are then provided to verify the legitimacy of our model when applied to our physical manipulator. We also provide a set of obstacle avoidance experiments that help to exhibit the practical implementation of both our manipulator and our kinematic model. c2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Hannan, Michael W.
(Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina 29634. United States)
Walker, Ian D.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of robotic systems
Volume: 20
Issue: 2
ISSN: 0741-2223
Subject Category
Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Distribution Limits
Non-NASA Center
NASA Program Advanced Human Support Technology
NASA Discipline Space Human Factors