Multi-Point Orientation Control of Discretely-Magnetized Continuum Manipulators

Michiel Richter, V. Kalpathy Venkiteswaran*, S. Misra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
159 Downloads (Pure)


In the past decade, remote actuation through magnetic fields has been used for position and orientation control of continuum manipulators (CMs) with a single magnet at the distal tip. By leveraging multiple points of actuation along the length of the CM it is possible to achieve increasingly complex shapes, which could be of interest in complex navigation tasks, for example, in minimally invasive surgery. In this study we present an approach for multi-point orientation control of discretely magnetized CMs. The approach is demonstrated with a manipulator that contains two permanent magnets, which are each actuated inside a non-homogeneous magnetic field. We formulate an accurate field model that conforms to Maxwell's equations and apply this to the available actuation system. Furthermore, Cosserat rod theory is used to model the manipulator deformation under external wrenches, and is utilized to numerically compute a Jacobian necessary to calculate the actuation inputs. During experiments, a stereo vision setup is used for manipulator shape feedback. Target orientations are manually provided as input to show independent orientation control of the two permanent magnets. Additionally, simulations with an extended virtual clone of the electromagnetic system are performed to show the capability of achieving more complex manipulator shapes. In both scenarios, it is observed that the algorithm is able to independently control the orientation of two interconnected magnets in a non-uniform magnetic field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3607 - 3614
JournalIEEE Robotics and automation letters
Issue number2
Early online date8 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


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