Continuum manipulators are often used in complex and narrow space in recent years because of their flexibility and safety. Vision is considered to be one of the most direct methods to obtain its spatial shape. However, with the improvement of the cooperation requirements of multiple continuum manipulators and the increase of space limitation, it is impossible to obtain the complete spatial shape information of multiple continuum manipulators only by several cameras.
This paper proposes a fusion method using inertial navigation sensors and cameras to reconstruct the shape of continuum manipulators in the whole workspace. The camera is used to obtain the position information, and the inertial navigation sensor is used to obtain the attitude information. Based on the above two information, the shape of the continuum manipulator is reconstructed by fitting Bézier curve.
The experiment result of single continuum manipulator shows that the cubic Bézier curves is applicable to curve fitting of variable curvature, the maximum fitting error is about 2 mm. Meanwhile, the experiment result shows that this method is not affected by obstacles and can still reconstruct the shape of the continuum manipulators in 3-D space by detecting the position and attitude information of the end.
According to the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study on spatial shape reconstruction of multiple continuum manipulators and the first study to introduce inertial navigation sensors and cameras into the field of shape reconstruction of multiple continuum manipulators in narrow space. This method is suitable for shape reconstruction of manipulator with variable curvature continuum manipulator. When the vision of multiple continuum manipulators is blocked by obstacles, the spatial shape can still be reconstructed only by exposing the end point. The structure is simple, but it has certain accuracy within a certain range.
This work is supported by “the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, NO. NS2020036,” National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61973335) and Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province under Grant BK20191272.
Guo, H., Ju, F., Wang, N., Chen, B., Wei, X., Wang, Y. and Wang, D. (2021), "Multi-continuum manipulators shape reconstruction using inertial navigation sensors and cameras", Industrial Robot, Vol. 48 No. 3, pp. 401-412. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-09-2020-0205
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