Robots and Biological Systems: Towards a New Bionics?

Volume 102 of the series NATO ASI Series pp 475-494

Flexible Robot Manipulators and Grippers: Relatives of Elephant Trunks and Squid Tentacles

  • J. F. WilsonAffiliated withSchool of Engineering, Duke University
  • , D. LiAffiliated withTsinghua University
  • , Z. ChenAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, North Carolina State University
  • , R. T. GeorgeJr.Affiliated withSchool of Engineering, Duke University

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Elephants and squids have continuously flexible appendages that are well adapted for manipulating and gripping. In this paper we briefly review the overall structural forms and motions of elephant trunks and squid tentacles. We then discuss how we incorporated some of their biological characteristics in the design of a flexible arm manipulator with open loop control (Part 1) and in the design of a flexible, two-fingered gripper with closed loop control (Part 2).