Hyper-Redundant Robotics Systems

Robot manipulators which have more than the minimum number of degrees-of-freedom are termed ``kinematically redundant,'' or simply ``redundant.'' Redundancy in manipulator design has been recognized as a means to improve manipulator performance in complex and unstructured environments. ``Hyper-redundant'' robots have a very large degree of kinematic redundancy, and are analogous in morphology and operation to snakes, elephant trunks, and tentacles. There are a number of very important applications where such robots would be advantageous.

While ``snake-like'' robots have been investigated for nearly 25 years, they have remained a laboratory curiousity. There are a number of reasons for this: (1) previous kinematic modeling techniques have not been particularly efficient or well suited to the needs of hyper-redundant robot task modeling; (2) the mechanical design and implementation of hyper-redundant robots has been perceived as unnecessarily complex; and (3) hyper-redundant robots are not anthropomorphic, and therefore pose interesting programming problems. Our research group has undertaken a broadly based program to overcome the obstacles to practical deployment of hyper-redundant robots.

Students (former and current) that have done at least some work in this area:

Selected Papers

Pictures of Hyper-Redundant Robots