Pick-and-place tasks are common across many industrial sectors, and many rigid-linked robots have been proposed for this application. This paper aims to alternatively present the development of a continuum robot for low-load medium-speed pick-and-place tasks.
An inversion of a previously proposed dual continuum mechanism, as a key design element, was used to realize the horizontal movements of the CurviPicker’s end effector. A flexible shaft was inserted to realize rotation and translation about a vertical axis. The design concept, kinematics, system descriptions and proof-of-concept experimental characterizations are elaborated.
Experimental characterizations show that the CurviPicker can achieve satisfactory accuracy after motion calibration. The CurviPicker is easy to control due to its simple kinematics, while its structural compliance makes it safe to work with, as well as less sensitive to possible target picking position errors to avoid damaging itself or the to-be-picked objects.
The vertical translation of the CurviPicker is currently realized by moving the flexible shaft. Insertion of the flexible shaft introduces possible disturbances. It is desired to explore other form of variations to use structural deformation to realize the vertical translation.
The proposed CurviPicker realizes the Schöenflies motions via a simple structure. Such a robot can be used to increase robot presence and automation in small businesses for low-load medium-speed pick-and-place tasks.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the CurviPicker is the first continuum robot designed and constructed for pick-and-place tasks. The originality stems from the concept, kinematics, development and proof-of-concept experimental characterizations of the CurviPicker.
Research funding: This work was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 91648103, Grant No. 51722507 and Grant No. 51435010), and in part by the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFC0110800).
Yang, Z., Zhao, B., Bo, L., Zhu, X. and Xu, K. (2019), "CurviPicker: a continuum robot for pick-and-place tasks", Assembly Automation, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 410-421. https://doi.org/10.1108/AA-12-2017-187
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