Date of Award

8-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering (Holcomb Dept. of)

Committee Member

Dr. Ian D. Walker, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Apoorva Kapadia

Committee Member

Dr. Richard E. Groff

Abstract

In this thesis, we propose and investigate a new approach to modeling continuum robot sections, based on Euler spirals. Euler Spirals, also termed Clothoids, or Cornu Spirals, are those curves in which the curvature increases linearly with their arc length. In this work, Euler spirals are applied to the kinematic modeling of continuum robots for the first time. The new approach was tested on two new Parallel Continuum robots - named Mawby and Separating Sections. Mawby - a novel parallel continuum robot gripper featuring a webbing between its continuum fingers was designed and built. Separating Sections - another novel parallel continuum robot could operate as a single section unit, but could also branch out into three separate and distinct units as the situation demanded. Both robots consist of three parallel sections each with three thin, long McKibben actuators. These parallel sections are poorly modeled by the widely used constant curvature kinematic model. The constant curvature and Euler spiral models were compared and the Euler Spiral method was seen to be a significantly better match for the shapes of the robot hardware. An analysis of the underlying causes of non-constant curvature in long continuum robot sections is also presented in the thesis.

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