The Bio-Inspired Continuous Robotic Limb is a structure without joints or rigid parts, capable to passively elongate, shorten, flex, selectively stiffen, pull, compress, grasp, manipulate and work in confined spaces. The different arm sections are independently manageable but they are subjected to a distributed force thanks to their continuity. This characteristic allows the structure to be used in submarines, disaster areas, surgery, Human-Machine Interface.
The articulated robotic structures used for the realization of robotic limbs are widely known and consist of rigid mechanical parts connected to each other by joints. The technical problem is the realization of a robotic arm completely soft, without joints or mechanical parts able to replace rigid structures.
Current Technology Limits
In order to provide a robotic limb inspired by the tentacle of octopus, materials extremely soft have been used, allowing to emulate the mechanical characteristics of biological tissue. This has been provided using artificial contractile elements that replicate the function carried out by the muscle fibers in the biological limb.
The bio-inspired robotic limb can have important application in the service robot industry thanks to its compliance and high handling capacity. In particular, it can find applications in areas such as robotic underwater platforms (AUV), Rovs for underwater manipulation or underwater archaeology, food processing, medical or minimally invasive surgery and in aerospace environments due to its limited weight and size.
Our Technology and Solutions
This robotic limb is inspired by octopus tentacles without joints or rigid mechanical parts, and is capable of passively elongate, shorten, flex, and selectively stiffen. It is also capable to pull and compress, to grasp and manipulate objects, and is able to work in confined spaces, all features allowing the tentacle to adaptively implement and with a Soft and safe structure. Each section is independently manageable of the others, but by virtue of its continuity, any applied force and deformation is distributed throughout the structure. Passive elongation produced by only reducing the diameter of the structure.
Soft structuring, plus mobility implementation plus exploitation of the passive properties of the materials allows a much slower control and intelligent use of the forces within the structure.
The bio-inspired robotic limb is characterized by a high flexibility, safety, and comfort to the man-machine interface. Its use is extremely useful for working in confined spaces and the ability to manage each section independently, but distributing the force applied on the entire structure. Its point of strength is high handling and considerable power and endurance.