Realizing high-performance soft robots is challenging because many existing soft or compliant actuators exhibit limitations like fabrication complexity, high power requirement, slow actuation, and low force generation. Due to their high-force output and power efficiency, compactness, and simplicity in fabrication, twisted string actuators (TSAs) have exhibited strong potential in mechatronic and robotic applications. However, they have had limited uses in soft robotics. Consequently, modeling and control of TSA-driven soft robots have not been sufficiently studied. This article presents the first study on the modeling and control of a TSA-driven soft robotic manipulator. A physics-based model was developed to predict the manipulator’s kinematic motion. An inverse model was derived to realize open-loop control. Models that describe the behavior of TSAs were utilized in a novel way to develop the proposed kinematic and inverse models of the soft robot. The proposed modeling and control approaches were experimentally verified to be effective. For example, the modeling and control errors of the bending angle were 1.60 deg (3.11%) and 2.11 deg (3.68%), respectively.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues