Cooperative Continuum Robots: Enhancing Individual Continuum Arms by Reconfiguring Into a Parallel Manipulator

Matteo Russo, Natthapol Sriratanasak, Weiming Ba, Xin Dong, Abdelkhalick Mohammad, Dragos Axinte

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Continuum robots are able of in-situ inspection tasks in cluttered environments and narrow passages, where conventional robots and human operators cannot intervene. However, such intervention often requires the robot to interact with the environment, and the low stiffness and payload of continuum robots limits their intervention capabilities. In this letter, we propose a paradigm shift from individual to multiple continuum robots, which can reach the target environment from different paths and then physically connect, reconfiguring into a parallel architecture to enhance precision, stiffness, and payload. The main challenges in modelling and controlling cooperative continuum robots are outlined, and an experimental comparison between individual and cooperating continuum robots that connect through a novel shape-memory-alloy-based clutch highlights the advantages of the proposed technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1558-1565
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Compliant mechanisms
  • Continuum robots
  • Cooperating robots
  • Mechanism design
  • Parallel robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


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