Multiple Curvatures in a Tendon-Driven Continuum Robot Using a Novel Magnetic Locking Mechanism.
Pogue, Chloe; Rao, Priyanka; Peyron, Quentin; Kim, Jongwoo; Burgner-Kahrs, Jessica; Diller, Eric D.
IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2022
Tendon-driven continuum robots show promise for use in surgical applications as they can assume complex configurations to navigate along tortuous paths. However, to achieve these complex robot shapes, multiple segments are required as each robot segment can bend only with a single constant curvature. To actuate these additional robot segments, multiple tendons must typically be added on-board the robot, complicating their integration, robot control, and actuation. This work presents a method of achieving two curvatures in a single tendon-driven continuum robot segment through use of a novel magnetic locking mechanism. Thus, the need for additional robot segments and actuating tendons is eliminated. The resulting two curvatures in a single segment are demonstrated in two and three dimensions. Furthermore, the maximum magnetic field required to actuate the locking mechanism for different robot bending angles is experimentally measured to be 6.1 mT. Additionally, the locking mechanism resists unintentional unlocking unless the robot assumes a 0° bending angle and a magnetic field of 18.1 mT is applied, conditions which are not typically reached during routine use of the system. Finally, addressable actuation of two locking mechanisms is achieved, demonstrating the capability of producing multiple curvatures in a single robot segment.