Real-time shape estimation for continuum robots using vision

M. W. Hannan a1 and I.D. Walker a2c1
a1 Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 (USA). E-mail:
a2 Electrical and Computer Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634 (USA).
c1 Corresponding author: I. D. Walker

Article author query
hannan mw   [Google Scholar] 
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This paper describes external camera-based shape estimation for continuum robots. Continuum robots have a continuous backbone made of sections which bend to produce changes of configuration. A major difficulty with continuum robots is the determination of the robot's shape, as there are no discrete joints. This paper presents a method for shape determination based on machine vision. Using an engineered environment and image processing from a high speed camera, shape determination of a continuum robot is achieved. Experimental results showing the effectiveness of the technique on our Elephant's Trunk Manipulator are presented.

(Received August 31 2004)

Key Words: Continuum robots; Vision; Shape estimation.