IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 6 (2), pp. 1272 - 1279, 2021
In this work, a novel spatial parallel continuum robot is proposed. It is composed of three tendon-actuated continuum robots as kinematic chains that are coupled at a common end-effector platform by spherical joints. A modular design approach is used, allowing the reconfiguration of each continuum robot's base position and orientation to adapt the overall structure to application specific constraints and environments. The parallel continuum robot is evaluated in terms of its position and orientation repeatability. Furthermore, comparisons are made to the performance of the single continuum kinematic chains. Overall, average position and orientation repeatabilities of 3.3 mm and 1.2 can be achieved for the parallel continuum robot, with a single individual continuum segment showing repeatabilities of 5.5 mm and 3.2. The proposed parallel continuum robot exhibits improved repeatabilities than each of the employed individual continuum segments, improving the average repeatability by 67% for position and 167% for orientation, respectively.