Flexible robot arms have been developed for various medical and industrial applications because of their compliant structures enabling safe environmental interactions. This paper introduces a novel flexible robot arm comprising a number of elastically deformable planar spring elements arranged in series. The effects of flexure design variations on their layer compliance properties are investigated. Numerical studies of the different layer configurations are presented and finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulation is conducted. Based on the suspended platform’s motion of each planar spring, this paper then provides a new method for kinematic modeling of the proposed robot arm. The approach is based on the concept of simultaneous rotation and the use of Rodrigues’ rotation formula and is applicable to a wide class of continuum-style robot arms. At last, the flexible robot arms respectively integrated with two different types of compliance layers are prototyped. Preliminary test results are reported.

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