Semester of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

Document Type



Cable-driven continuum robots, which are robots with a continuously flexible backbone and no identifiable joints that are actuated by cables, have shown great potential for many applications in unstructured, uncertain environments. However, the standard design for a cable-driven continuum robot segment, which bends a continuous backbone along a circular arc, has many compliant modes of deformation which are uncontrolled, and which may result in buckling or other undesirable behaviors if not ameliorated. In this study, a detailed approach for using additional cables to selectively stiffen planar cable-driven robots without substantial coupling to the actuating cables is investigated. A mechanics-based model based on the planar Cosserat equations is used to find the design conditions under which additional cables can be routed without coupling of the cable lengths for small deformations. Simulations show that even for relatively large deformations, coupling remains small. A prototype was designed and evaluated, and it was demonstrated that the compliance of the robot is substantially modified relative to the same robot without the additional stiffening cables. The additional stiffening cables are shown to increase the end-effector output stiffness by a factor of approximately 10 over a typical design with actuating cables.



Committee Chair

Hunter B. Gilbert