ModLab UPenn the modular robotics laboratory at the university of pennsylvania

Tether-Tube Robots

Tether-Tube Robot are a new type of parallel robots constructed from tethers and tubes. It is similar to cable robots but, rather than just using cables, expanding tubes are also used to do actuation. This design is achieved by utilizing a novel prismatic joint called Spiral Zipper developed in ModLab.

Tether-Tube Robots Application and Hardware

Tether-tube robots, comprised of multiple tethers and tubes, can be applied to a variety of hardware systems shown in the following figure. A robotic manipulator can be built with three tethers and one tube mounted on a mobile base (left figure). A VTT edge module is composed of a tube and two passive joints and multiple edges modules can construct a node by merging their joints.

Tether-Tube Robots Model

A graph model (left) and a kinematics model (right) are developed to describe a tether-tube robot. A nested controller framework is provided as well. We also developed a ROS package with a simulator to control a tether-tube robot.


Tether-Tube Robots Manipulability Analysis

A new method is developed to analyze the manipulability of these type of robots shown in the video.


  • [PDF] C. C. Kessens, M. Horowitz, C. Liu, J. Dotterweich, M. Yim, and H. L. Edge, “Toward lateral aerial grasping & manipulation using scalable suction,” in Ieee international conference on robotics and automation, 2019.
    title={Toward Lateral Aerial Grasping & Manipulation Using Scalable Suction},
    author={Kessens, Chad C. and Horowitz, Matthew and Liu, Chao and Dotterweich, James and Yim, Mark and Edge, Harris L.},
    booktitle={IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation},







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