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Configuration Workspaces of Series-Parallel Mechanisms

[+] Author Affiliations
Brian McCarthy, Mikola Lysenko, Vadim Shapiro

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Paper No. DETC2012-70716, pp. 1255-1267; 13 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 36th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4503-5
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


The workspace of a mechanism is the set of positions and orientations that is reachable by its end effector. Workspaces have numerous applications, including motion planning, mechanism design, and manufacturing process planning, but their representation and computation is challenging due to high dimensionality and geometric/topological complexity. We propose a new formulation of the workspace computation problem for a large class of mechanisms represented by series-parallel constraint graphs. A wide variety of allowable constraints include all lower pair, some higher pair, and non-collision constraints. We show that the workspace of such mechanisms may be computed by a constraint propagation algorithm. After the space of all rigid body motions is discretized, these operations can be efficiently implemented using the Fast Fourier Transform and a depth first search. In contrast to algebraic formulations, the proposed method assures that all configurations in the computed workspace not only satisfy pairwise constraints but can be reached without breaking and reassembling the mechanism.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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