[ros-users] Discussion on best practices for modelling continuum robots

Meßmer, Felix Felix.Messmer at ipa.fraunhofer.de
Tue Dec 18 15:15:09 UTC 2012

Dear ROS-users,


unfortunately, I did not receive any comments to my question on answers.ros.org (http://answers.ros.org/question/49915/modelling-an-endoscopic-arm-with-urdf/).

This is why I would like to start a discussion here on the mailing list.


As a short introduction:

I am currently trying to use ROS for an endoscopic, trunk/tentacle-like, flexible robot manipulator (see http://www.miror.eu/).

Eventually, I would like to be able to use ROS functionality already available (i.e. motion planning, collision checking,...) with my manipulator.

Therefore, I am trying to find a good representation for my kinematical structure (robot_description, urdf) and implement services for direct/inverse kinematics at the moment.

For a theoretical background information on the specific differences between "normal" robot kinematic structures and continuum robots please refer to [1].


Since I haven't found any related entry here, I first would like to know whether someone already has started to us ROS for a robot with similar kinematics.

Thus, if you have experiences with such kinematical structures, I'd be happy to share experiences and discuss best-practices.

I already tried some approaches but I don't want to overload this first message with too much details...


Any comments are welcome!


With best regards,







    author = {Michael W. Hannan and Ian D. Walker},

    title = {Kinematics and the Implementation of an Elephant's Trunk Manipulator and Other Continuum Style Robots},

    journal = {Journal of Robotic Systems},

    year = {2003},

    volume = {20},

    pages = {45--63}



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