Hybrid rigid–continuum robot design addresses a range of challenges associated with using soft robots in application areas such as robotic surgery. Utilizing such robots poses challenges beyond standard rigid-body robots. A fast, reliable, accurate yet simple dynamic model is important to support the design, analysis, and control of hybrid rigid–continuum robots. In our recent work, we developed a modelling package for hybrid rigid–continuum systems, named TMTDyn. It utilizes four different continuum robot kinematics representations: (i) series rigid-link, (ii) piecewise constant curvature discretization (discretised Cosserat based on relative states), (iii) Finite Element Method (discretised Cosserat based on absolute states), and (iv) reduced-order shape interpolation. TMTDyn features real-time simulation, via optimized C++ models, inverse jacobian, and load compensation formulations for controller and observer designs. TMTDyn benefits from an internal domain-specific language (DSL) using Matlab’s Object-Oriented capabilities and the concept of fluent interfaces to improve validation, understandability, and maintainability of the constructed models. In this presentation, we showcase modelling a variety of continuum robots with TMTDyn such as pneumatically and tendon actuated, concentric tube, and growing robots, following by a discussion on the controller design, language implementation, the benefits, and challenges of building a Matlab-internal DSL.
Dr. Majid Taghavi, Imperial College London
In this talk, I will briefly discuss our inspiration and motivation to develop soft robotics and highlight the demands to deliver a new generation of soft transduction technologies including energy harvesters, sensors, and actuators. I will discuss the current challenges of developing soft transducers, matching the capability of their biological counterparts, and show my approaches to tackle them. I will particularly show how multifunctional transducers generated by the integration of various material, structural and physical functionalities have potential to introduce new smart materials and intelligent structures for real-world soft robotic applications. It will include my research on self-powered sensors, self-sensing actuators, and variable stiffness artificial muscle.