A new manipulation approach, referred to as interleaved continuum-rigid manipulation, which combines inherently safe, flexible actuated segments with more precise embedded rigid-link joints is described. The redundantly actuated manipulator possesses the safety characteristics inherent in flexible segment devices while gaining some of the performance gains possible with rigid-link joint systems. A demonstration prototype was developed, the purpose of which was to explore the design space as well as demonstrate the feasibility of the approach in a clinically-relevant form. The overall design is described along with performance data evaluating its functionality.
Conrad B., Zinn M., Interleaved continuum-rigid manipulation approach: Development and functional evaluation of a clinical scale manipulator, 2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems; 2014 14-18 Sept. 2014