IGM Colloquium: Prof. Jessica Burgner-Kahrs, Hannover

© 2018 Prof. Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

© 2018 Prof. Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

Accessing through Keyholes – Continuum Robots at Small Scales


Continuum robots are inspired by nature, in particular by elephant trunks, anteater tongues, or tentacles. As they are not composed of discrete joints or rigid links, they differ substantially from conventional robots. Their structure is composed of flexible, elastic, or soft materials such that complex bending and twisting motions can be achieved. Thus, continuum robots can be deployed in tortuous environments and used for dexterous manipulation tasks in constrained environments. The high scalability and miniaturization potential allow for numerous applications, e.g. minimally invasive surgery through natural orifices or in situ inspection of capital goods such as aircraft engines. The presentation will give an overview on continuum robot designs and touch upon fundamentals in kinematic modeling, planning, and control. Open research questions and cross-disciplinary challenges are discussed.


Prof. Jessica Burgner-Kahrs is heading the Laboratory for Continuum Robotics at the Leibniz Universität Hannover since November 2015. Prof. Burgner-Kahrs graduated from Universität Karlsruhe (TH), Germany in computer science and got her Ph.D. at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany. Before she started at Leibniz Universität Hannover in 2013, she was Research Associate at Vanderbilt University, USA for two years.

Her research focus lies on continuum robotics and in particular on their design, modelling, planning and control as well as human-robot interaction. In 2015 she was awarded with the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, the Lower Saxony Science Award in the category Young Researcher and entitles Young Researcher of the Year 2015 in Germany. The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences awarded her the Engineering Science Prize in 2016. She was also elected as one of the Top 40 under 40 in the category Science and Society in 2015, 2016 and 2017 by the business magazine Capital.