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Design and Preliminary Testing of a Continuum Assistive Robotic Manipulator




assistive technology, continuum manipulator, design, robotics, RobotREU, user testing


The application of continuum manipulators as assistive robots is discussed and tested through the use of Bendy ARM, a simple tendon driven continuum manipulator prototype. Two rounds of user testing were performed to evaluate the potential of this arm to aid people living with disabilities in completing activities of daily living. In the first round of user testing, 14 able-bodied subjects successfully completed the prescribed task (pick-and-place) using multiple control schemes after being given a brief introduction and one minute of practice with each scheme. In the second round of user testing, subjects (n=3) demonstrated between 29.5 and 48.9 percent improvement in completion time across twelve trials of a peg-in-hole task, and between 8.4 and 33.8 percent improvement across six trials of a task involving opening and closing a drawer. Based on these results, it is posited that continuum manipulators merit further consideration as a safer and more cost-effective alternative to existing commercially available assistive robotic manipulators.


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2018-09-21 — Updated on 2018-09-21