Parallel Continuum Robots
Research at the intersection of parallel robots and continuum robots
Parallel continuum robots (PCR) are new mechanisms that are expected to combine dexterity and manipulability of continuum robots with accuracy and stiffness of parallel robots.
The parallel coupling of several serial-kinematic chains in parallel kinematic manipulators result in both, high dynamics and high accuracy. However, the architecture of these manipulators also has disadvantages such as a relatively small workspace and increased occurrence of singularities. On the other hand, continuum robots consist of flexible or soft materials and exhibit a high number of degrees of freedom, which leads to high dexterity and advanced motion capabilities. In contrast to conventional serial robots, their structure is very compliant, which leads to limited manipulation forces.
The underlying hypotheses of this research are:
- increased singularity-free workspace
- higher forces at a comparatively low weight
- increased dexterity
Funding – German Research Foundation, 2018-2019
Collaboration with the Institute of Mechatronic System, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany (Tobias Ortmaier) Award No. BU2935/5-1
Learning the Kinematics of Tubular Continuum Robots
Model-based vs. Data-based Methods
- Define Data Representations for Tubular Continuum Robots
- Investigate Deep Learning for Kinematic Modelling
- Enable Task-Optimal Robot Designs by Reinforcement Learning
- Explore Learning-based Motion Planning Techniques
Funding – NSERC Discovery Grant (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2024)
NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplements
NSERC Discovery Launch Supplements
Continuum Magnetic Robots
Improving the controllable motions of continuum robots with the addition of wireless magnetic actuation
Can a cable-driven continuum robot be controlled at multiple locations along its body using magnetic actuation?
The main limitation in existing cable-driven continuum robots is the inability to miniaturize and expand the dexterity by adding more cables at the same time. Thus, the merit of continuum robots for applications such as minimally invasive surgery or industrial inspection tasks is mostly unexploited today.
We envision a new approach to circumvent these limitations by applying wireless magnetic actuation methods from micro-scale robotics research to yield a robot significantly more dexterous and functional than existing continuum robots today. We will develop the mathematical models for such a novel system and build a first-ever prototype magnetic continuum robot.
This project is a collaboration between CRL and the Microrobotics Lab (Eric Diller).
Funding – XSeed Fund, September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2021
XSeed is a seed funding program of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and the Faculty of Arts and Science at University of Toronto to promote interdisciplinary research and to catalyze innovative partnerships.
MEDUSA - Single Port Continuum Robot System
Enhancing dexterity in minimally invasive surgery through a single inciscion
We are leveraging continuum robotics to create a ﬂexible variable stiﬀness endoport for laparoscopic single-site surgery. The endoport concept is a ﬂexible manipulator realized as a two-segment tendon-actuated continuum robot capable of stiﬀening its structure through a layer jamming sheath. Three working channels offer application and quick exchange of ﬂexible surgical tools, either manual or robotic as well as endoscopes.
CROSS - Continuum Robots for Surgical Systems
Designing and controlling concentric tube continuum robots in humans.
In CROSS we were leveraging concentric tube continuum robots in surgical systems. Our research focused on computational design optimization, motion planning algorithms as well as system design and human robot interaction. Potential medical applications include endonasal skull base surgery, transurethral kidney stone removal, and transcranial hemorrhage treatment.0
Funding – German Research Foundation, 2013-2019
Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group Award No. BU2935/1-1