Continuum Robot Design and Prototyping

At CRL, we create innovative continuum robot designs with novel features such as drastically increased motion capabilities through extensibility, adjustable stiffness through scale sheaths, and higher accuracy through parallel structures.

In terms of designing continuum robots a wide spectrum of compliance and elasticity can be achieved by variation of materials, structure, actuation, etc. We aim at developing particularly small continuum robots which are able to manoeuvre and manipulate in constrained and tortuous environments.

In addition to the physical design of continuum robots, research @CRL is also concerned with computational design. For instance, we are developing evolutionary algorithms and machine learning techniques to explore the infinite parameter space of tubular continuum robots and derive design guidelines.


  • NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplements
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation, John R. Evans Leaders Fund
  • Ontario Research Fund, Research Infrastructure


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Open Continuum Robotics - One Actuation Module to Create them All

Reinhard M. Grassmann, Chengnan Shentu, Taqi Hamoda, Puspita Triana Dewi, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 11, 2024.

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A Lightweight Modular Segment Design for Tendon-Driven Continuum Robots with Pre-Programmable Stiffness

Puspita Triana Dewi, Priyanka Rao, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, 2024.

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FAS - A Fully Actuated Segment for Tendon-Driven Continuum Robots

Reinhard Grassmann, Priyanka Rao, Quentin Peyron, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 9:873446 (19 pages), 2022.

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Design of Lightweight and Extensible Tendon-Driven Continuum Robots using Origami Patterns

Yunti Xu, Quentin Peyron, Jongwoo Kim, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

4th IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft), 2021.

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Design of a Reconfigurable Parallel Continuum Robot with Tendon-Actuated Kinematic Chains

Georg Böttcher, Sven Lilge, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 6 (2), pp. 1272 - 1279, 2021.

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Tendon-driven Continuum Robots with Extensible Sections - A Model-based Evaluation of Path Following Motions

E Amanov, T -D Nguyen, J Burgner-Kahrs

International Journal of Robotics Research, 40 (1), pp. 7-23, 2021.

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Multi-Objective Particle Swarm Optimization for the Structural Design of Concentric Tube Continuum Robots for Medical Applications

Josephine Granna

PhD Thesis, Leibniz University Hannover, 2019.

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Stiffening Sheaths for Continuum Robots

Marlene Langer, Ernar Amanov, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

Soft Robotics, 5 (3), pp. 291-303, 2018.

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Toward Improving Path Following Motion - Hybrid Continuum Robot Design

E Amanov, J Granna, J Burgner-Kahrs

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pp. 4666-4672, 2017.

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Towards Handheld Continuum Robots

V Modes, Thien-Dang Nguyen, J Burgner-Kahrs

DGR Days (German Society of Robotics), pp. 20, 2017.

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Design, Fabrication, and Testing of a Needle-Sized Wrist for Surgical Instruments

Philip J Swaney, Peter A York, Hunter B Gilbert, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs, Robert Webster J III

Journal of Medical Devices, 11 (1), pp. 014501 (9 pages), 2017.

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A Manual Actuation System for Laser Induced Thermal Therapy of Malignant Brain Tumors

J Granna, A Graf, A Nabavi, J Burgner-Kahrs

16th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Computer- and Robot-assisted Surgery, pp. 125–130, 2017.

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Comparison of Optimization Algorithms for a Tubular Aspiration Robot for Maximum Coverage in Intracerebral Hemorrhage Evacuation

Josephine Granna, Yi Guo, Kyle D Weaver, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

Journal of Medical Robotics Research, 2 (1), pp. 1750004 (9 pages), 2017.

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How Can the Characteristics of Continuum Robots Be Optimized for a Specific Medical Application?

J Burgner-Kahrs

Latest Thinking, ISSN; 25105183., 2017.

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On the Merits of Helical Tendon Routing in Continuum Robots

Julia Starke, Ernar Amanov, Mohamed Taha Chikhaoui, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pp. 6470–6476, 2017.

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Towards Universal Continuum Manipulators

Ernar Amanov, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

28th Conference of the international Society for Medical Innovation and Technology, 2016.

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Continuum Robots for Medical Applications - A Survey

Jessica Burgner-Kahrs, Caleb D Rucker, Howie Choset

IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 31 (6), pp. 1261-1280, 2015.