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Compared with traditional rigid link manipulators, cable-driven continuum manipulators have many advantages, such as light-weight mechanical structure, large reachable workspace, high dexterity, and high maneuverability. It is especially suitable to the applications requiring high maneuverability over complex and confined spaces. In this paper, the end stiffness of a cable driven continuum manipulator is modeled and its influencing factors are analyzed. The flexible backbone is used as the support of the manipulator, and the deformation of the flexible support skeleton is precisely controlled by the piecewise drive scheme. Through the analysis, it can be seen that the main factor affecting the stiffness of the manipulator is the joint variable of the module, so we get two kinds of stiffness control schemes for the manipulator.

Design and Stiffness Analysis of a Cable-Driven Continuum Manipulator Jianbin Zhang, Qihang Li, Weihai Chen, Zaojun Fang, Guilin Yang