Skip to Main Content
In this paper, we present a novel kinematic-based framework for collision detection and estimation of contact location along multisegment continuum robots. Screw theory is used to define a screw motion deviation (SMD) as the distance between the expected and the actual instantaneous screw axis (ISA) of motion. The expected ISA is computed based on the unconstrained kinematics model of the robot, while the actual ISA is computed based on sensory information. Collisions with rigid environments at any point along the robot are detected by monitoring the SMD. Contact locations are estimated by the minimization of the SMD between the ISA that is obtained from a constrained kinematic model of the continuum robot and the one that is obtained from sensor data. The proposed contact detection and localization methods only require the relative motion of each continuum segment with respect to its own base. This strategy allows the straightforward generalization of these algorithms for an n -segment continuum robot. The framework is evaluated via simulations and experimentally on a three-segment multibackbone continuum robot. Results show that the collision-detection algorithm is capable of detecting a single collision at any segment, multiple collisions occurring at multiple segments, and total-arm constraint. It is also shown that the estimation of contact location is possible at any location along the continuum robot with an accuracy better than 20% of the segment nominal length. We believe this study will enhance manipulation safety in unstructured environments and confined spaces.
Date of Publication: April 2012