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Shape Sensing for Continuum Robotics using Optoelectronic Sensors with Convex Reflectors
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  • Dalia Osman ,
  • Xinli Du ,
  • Timothy Minton ,
  • Yohan Noh
Dalia Osman
Brunel University London

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Timothy Minton
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Yohan Noh
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Abstract

Three‐dimensional shape sensing in soft and continuum robotics is a crucial aspect for stable actuation and control in fields such as Minimally Invasive surgery, as the estimation of complex curvatures while using continuum robotic tools is required to manipulate through fragile paths. This challenge has been addressed using a range of different sensing techniques, for example, FBG technology, IMU networks or stretch sensors. Previously, an optics‐based method, using optoelectronic sensors was explored, offering a simple and cost‐effective solution for shape sensing in a flexible tendon‐actuated manipulator in two orientations. This was based on proximity‐modulated angle estimation and has been the basis for the shape‐sensing method addressed in this paper. The improved and miniaturized technique demonstrated in this paper is based on the use of a spherically shaped reflector with optoelectronic sensors integrated into a tendon actuated robotic manipulator. Upgraded sensing capability is achieved using optimization of the spherical reflector shape in terms of sensor range and resolution, and improved calibration is achieved through the integration of spherical bearings for friction‐free motion. Shape estimation is achieved in two orientations upon calibration of sensors, with a maximum Root Mean Square Error (RMS) of 3.37°.  
15 Mar 2024Submitted to TechRxiv
29 Mar 2024Published in TechRxiv