Abstract In recent years, the continuous robot has become an active research field because of its excellent ability to work in unstructured environment and good adaptability to narrow working space. In this paper, a novel elephant-trunk-like robot arm which consists of a series of 2-degrees of freedom (DOF) soft module and actuated by shape memory alloy (SMA) is proposed. The new robot arm shows the merits of light weight, compact structure and flexiblity. In this paper, the kinematics model of soft module and elephant-trunk-like robot arm which is series with several soft modules are analyzed. The open-loop control experiment is carried out to verify the reliability of the kinematic model, and the closed-loop control experiment is carried out to verify the feasibility of the closed-loop control.