Real-Time Shape Estimation for Concentric Tube Continuum Robots with a Single Force/Torque Sensor
Shape-sensing in real-time is a key requirement for the development of advanced algorithms for concentric tube continuum robots when safe interaction with the environment is important e.g., for path planning, advanced control, and human-machine interaction. We propose a real-time shape-estimation algorithm for concentric tube continuum robots based on the force-torque information measured at the tubes' basis. It extends a shape estimation algorithm for elastic rods based on discrete Kirchhoff rod theory. For simplicity and efficiency of calculation, we combine it with a model under piece-wise constant curvature assumption, in which we model a concentric tube continuum robot as a combination of segments of planar constant curvatures lying on different equilibrium planes. We evaluate our approach for a single and two combined additively manufactured tubes and achieve an estimation frequency of 333 Hz for two combined tubes with a mean deviation along the backbone of the tubes of 1.91-5.22 mm.