Continuum manipulator interface from University of Bristol has a highly articulated helical interface that ensures smooth joint movement.


  • Reduced energy usage
  • Self-adjusting


  • Robotics
  • Medical treatment
  • Prosthetics

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 9: Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

The Challenge

Continuum manipulators are slender, soft robots that are highly dexterous and deformable. When performing complicated tasks, the reliability of interfaces between moving parts is essential. Small deformations and instabilities can cause the manipulator to fail while performing its task. During certain activities such as surgery an interface failure could be dangerous.

Innovation Details

The continuum manipulator interface is a highly articulated, 3D-printed interface made of UV curable acrylic plastic and hydroxylated wax. The wax temperature is regulated to control joint compliance using a decentralized control approach. Preliminary results have shown task passive shape and task space anisotropic stiffness control.

video thumbnail

Biomimicry Story

Fish scales are strong, flexible, and resistant to cracking. The shell is made of fibers arranged in the Bouligand structure, a structure similar to a spiral staircase. This structure helps distribute an impact force or the bite of a predator throughout the scale’s shell, minimizing damage.