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Proceedings Paper

Design and experimental testing of the OctArm soft robot manipulator
Author(s): Michael D. Grissom; Vilas Chitrakaran; Dustin Dienno; Matthew Csencits; Michael Pritts; Bryan Jones; William McMahan; Darren Dawson; Chris Rahn; Ian Walker
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Paper Abstract

This paper describes the development of the octopus biology inspired OctArm series of soft robot manipulators. Each OctArm is constructed using air muscle extensors with three control channels per section that provide two axis bending and extension. Within each section, mesh and plastic coupler constraints prevent extensor buckling. OctArm IV is comprised of four sections connected by endplates, providing twelve degrees of freedom. Performance of OctArm IV is characterized in a lab environment. Using only 4.13 bar of air pressure, the dexterous distal section provides 66% extension and 380° of rotation in less than .5 seconds. OctArm V has three sections and, using 8.27 bar of air pressure, the strong proximal section provides 890 N and 250 N of vertical and transverse load capacity, respectively. In addition to the in-lab testing, OctArm V underwent a series of field trials including open-air and in-water field tests. Outcomes of the trials, in which the manipulator demonstrated the ability for adaptive and novel manipulation in challenging environments, are described. OctArm VI is designed and constructed based on the in-lab performance, and the field testing of its predecessors. Implications for the deployment of soft robots in military environments are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 May 2006
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6230, Unmanned Systems Technology VIII, 62301F (9 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.665321
Show Author Affiliations
Michael D. Grissom, Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Vilas Chitrakaran, Clemson Univ. (United States)
Dustin Dienno, Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Matthew Csencits, Clemson Univ. (United States)
Michael Pritts, Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Bryan Jones, Clemson Univ. (United States)
William McMahan, Clemson Univ. (United States)
Darren Dawson, Clemson Univ. (United States)
Chris Rahn, Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Ian Walker, Clemson Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6230:
Unmanned Systems Technology VIII
Grant R. Gerhart; Charles M. Shoemaker; Douglas W. Gage, Editor(s)

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