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Research Papers

An Extensible Continuum Robot With Integrated Origami Parallel Modules

[+] Author and Article Information
Ketao Zhang

Mem. ASME
Centre for Robotics Research,
King's College London,
University of London,
Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK
e-mail: ketao.zhang@kcl.ac.uk

Chen Qiu

Centre for Robotics Research,
King's College London,
University of London,
Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK
e-mail: chen.qiu@kcl.ac.uk

Jian S. Dai

Fellow ASME
Centre for Robotics Research,
King's College London,
University of London,
Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK
e-mail: jian.dai@kcl.ac.uk

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received July 1, 2015; final manuscript received September 18, 2015; published online March 7, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Robert J. Wood.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 8(3), 031010 (Mar 07, 2016) (9 pages) Paper No: JMR-15-1175; doi: 10.1115/1.4031808 History: Received July 01, 2015; Revised September 18, 2015

This paper presents a novel design of extensible continuum robots in light of origami-inspired folding techniques. The design starts from a modularized crease pattern, which consists of two triangular bases and three waterbomb bases, and generates a folding process for creating an origami waterbomb parallel structure. This further progresses to generating a compliant module with the origami parallel structure and a helical compression spring. A novel extensible continuum robot with the integrated compliant parallel modules is then proposed to imitate not only the bending motion but also the contraction of continuum creatures in nature. Mapping the origami parallel structure to an equivalent kinematic model, the motion characteristics of the origami structure are explored in terms of kinematic principles. The analysis reveals the mixed rotational and translational motion of the origami parallel module and the virtual axes for yaw and pitch motions. Following kinematics of the proposed continuum robot and features of the integrated helical spring in each module, three actuation schemes and resultant typical working phases with a tendon-driven system are presented. The design and analysis are then followed by a prototype of the extensible continuum robot with six integrated compliant modules connected in serial. The functionality of the proposed continuum robot with the origami parallel structure as its skeleton and the helical springs as the compliant backbone is validated by experimental results.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

A 2D crease pattern with three waterbomb bases: (a) 2D waterbomb crease base and (b) a crease pattern with bilateral symmetry

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Fig. 2

Schematic model of two stages in the folding process of the origami structure: (a) a half-erected configuration and (b) the completed origami parallel structure

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Fig. 3

Components of the compliant module: (a) a paper made origami parallel structure and (b) helical spring connecting the base and platform

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Fig. 4

A prototype of the proposed extensible continuum robot with six parallel modules

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Fig. 5

Kinematic model of the equivalent mechanism of the origami parallel structure

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Fig. 6

Schematic kinematic model of the continuum robot with six modules

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Fig. 7

Workspace of the continuum robot: (a) view along Z-axis and (b) view along Y-axis

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Fig. 8

Verification of the nonlinear performance of the compression spring: (a) test setup and (b) bending performance of the compression spring

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Fig. 9

Sequential figures of bending generated by one tensile force

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Fig. 10

Sequential figures of bending motion generated by two tensile forces

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Fig. 11

The compact and elongated configurations of the extensible continuum robot

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