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Stiffness Control of Surgical Continuum Manipulators

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2 Author(s)
Mahvash, M. ; Med. Sch., Cardiac Surg. Dept., Harvard Univ., West Roxbury, MA, USA ; Dupont, P.E.

This paper introduces the first stiffness controller for continuum robots. The control law is based on an accurate approximation of a continuum robot's coupled kinematic and static force model. To implement a desired tip stiffness, the controller drives the actuators to positions corresponding to a deflected robot configuration that produces the required tip force for the measured tip position. This approach provides several important advantages. First, it enables the use of robot deflection sensing as a means to both sense and control tip forces. Second, it enables stiffness control to be implemented by modification of existing continuum robot position controllers. The proposed controller is demonstrated experimentally in the context of a concentric tube robot. Results show that the stiffness controller achieves the desired stiffness in steady state, provides good dynamic performance, and exhibits stability during contact transitions.

Published in:

Robotics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:27 ,  Issue: 2 )