MoSS - Monocular Shape Sensing for Continuum Robots.

Shentu, Chengnan; Li, Enxu; Chen, Chaojun; Triana Dewi, Puspita; Lindell, David B.; Burgner-Kahrs, Jessica
IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems [in review], prePrint on arXiv, 2023
MoSS - Monocular Shape Sensing for Continuum Robots.


Continuum robots are promising candidates for interactive tasks in various applications due to their unique shape, compliance, and miniaturization capability. Accurate and real-time shape sensing is essential for such tasks yet remains a challenge. Embedded shape sensing has high hardware complexity and cost, while vision-based methods require stereo setup and struggle to achieve real-time performance. This paper proposes the first eye-to-hand monocular approach to continuum robot shape sensing. Utilizing a deep encoder-decoder network, our method, MoSSNet, eliminates the computation cost of stereo matching and reduces requirements on sensing hardware. In particular, MoSSNet comprises an encoder and three parallel decoders to uncover spatial, length, and contour information from a single RGB image, and then obtains the 3D shape through curve fitting. A two-segment tendon-driven continuum robot is used for data collection and testing, demonstrating accurate (mean shape error of 0.91 mm, or 0.36% of robot length) and real-time (70 fps) shape sensing on real-world data. Additionally, the method is optimized end-to-end and does not require fiducial markers, manual segmentation, or camera calibration. Code and datasets will be made available here.


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