Unlocking the Potential of Cable-Driven Continuum Robots: A Comprehensive Review and Future Directions

Haotian Bai, Boon Giin Lee, Guilin Yang, Wenjun Shen, Shuwen Qian, Haohao Zhang, Jianwei Zhou, Zaojun Fang, Tianjiang Zheng, Sen Yang, Liang Huang, Bohan Yu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Rigid robots have found wide-ranging applications in manufacturing automation, owing to their high loading capacity, high speed, and high precision. Nevertheless, these robots typically feature joint-based drive mechanisms, possessing limited degrees of freedom (DOF), bulky structures, and low manipulability in confined spaces. In contrast, continuum robots, drawing inspiration from biological structures, exhibit characteristics such as high compliance, lightweight designs, and high adaptability to various environments. Among them, cable-driven continuum robots (CDCRs) driven by multiple cables offer advantages like higher dynamic response compared to pneumatic systems and increased working space and higher loading capacity compared to shape memory alloy (SMA) drives. However, CDCRs also exhibit some shortcomings, including complex motion, drive redundancy, challenging modeling, and control difficulties. This study presents a comprehensive analysis and summary of CDCR research progress across four key dimensions: configuration design, kinematics and dynamics modeling, motion planning, and motion control. The objective of this study is to identify common challenges, propose solutions, and unlock the full potential of CDCRs for a broader range of applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number52
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2024


  • cable-driven continuum robots
  • configuration design
  • kinematic and dynamic modelling
  • motion planning
  • motion control


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