A Novel Fluidic Bellows Manipulator
Andrea Manuello Bertetto, and Maurizio Ruggiu
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica, University of Cagliari, Piazza D’Armi, 1-09123 Cagliari
A not-conventional manipulator is presented in this paper. The device consists of a bellows-like flexible and continuum structure actuated by fluid. Two balloons, placed inside of a hollow cylindrical flexible body, separated by a floating spine, may deform the flexible body thus moving the manipulator end-effector on a single plane according to an opportune inflating sequence. The description of the device, its assembling procedure and experimental characterization in terms of end-effector workspace, characteristic force-position curve, response in dynamics are addressed. Furthermore a general mathematical analysis of the robots based on the bellows-like structure is presented. The model approximates the flexible structure of the device as a series of rigid links connected by a couple of revolute and prismatic joints. The model was accurately validated by comparing the forward kinematics, static and inverse dynamics of the manipulator built with data from the analytical model.
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