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Robotic control of flexible devices can enhance and simplify many medical procedures. We present a method for controlling a tendon-driven continuum manipulator by means of specifying the shape configuration. The basis for control is a linear beam configuration model that transforms beam configuration to tendon displacement by modeling internal loads of the compliant system. An essential aspect of this model is the inclusion of both the mechanical and geometrical coupling among serial articulating sections. Important capabilities of this model are the general forward kinematics and the decoupled inverse kinematics that allow for independent control of multiple sections. Tracking results are presented for a cardiac catheter with two articulating sections.