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Distance-based formulations for the position analysis of kinematic chains

AuthorsRojas, Nicolás
AdvisorThomas, Federico
Issue Date2012
PublisherUniversidad Politécnica de Cataluña
AbstractThis thesis addresses the kinematic analysis of mechanisms, in particular, the position analysis of kinematic chains, or linkages, that is, mechanisms with rigid bodies (links) interconnected by kinematic pairs (joints). This problem, of completely geometrical nature, consists in finding the feasible assembly modes that a kinematic chain can adopt. An assembly mode is a possible relative transformation between the links of a kinematic chain. When an assignment of positions and orientations is made for all links with respect to a given reference frame, an assembly mode is called a configuration. The methods reported in the literature for solving the position analysis of kinematic chains can be classified as graphical, analytical, or numerical. The graphical approaches are mostly geometrical and designed to solve particular problems. The analytical and numerical methods deal, in general, with kinematic chains of any topology and translate the original geometric problem into a system of kinematic analysis of all the Assur kinematic chains resulting from replacing some of its revolute joints by slider joints. Thus, it is concluded that the polynomials of all fully-parallel planar robots can be derived directly from that of the widely known 3-RPR robot. In addition to these results, this thesis also presents an efficient procedure, based on distance and oriented area constraints, and geometrical arguments, to trace coupler curves of pin-jointed Gr¨ubler kinematic chains. All these techniques and results together are contributions to theoretical kinematics of mechanisms, robot kinematics, and distance plane geometry. equations that defines the location of each link based, mainly, on independent loop equations. In the analytical approaches, the system of kinematic equations is reduced to a polynomial, known as the characteristic polynomial of the linkage, using different elimination methods —e.g., Gr¨obner bases or resultant techniques. In the numerical approaches, the system of kinematic equations is solved using, for instance, polynomial continuation or interval-based procedures. In any case, the use of independent loop equations to solve the position analysis of kinematic chains, almost a standard in kinematics of mechanisms, has seldom been questioned despite the resulting system of kinematic equations becomes quite involved even for simple linkages. Moreover, stating the position analysis of kinematic chains directly in terms of poses, with or without using independent loop equations, introduces two major disadvantages: arbitrary reference frames has to be included, and all formulas involve translations and rotations simultaneously. This thesis departs from this standard approach by, instead of directly computing Cartesian locations, expressing the original position problem as a system of distance-based constraints that are then solved using analytical and numerical procedures adapted to their particularities.
In favor of developing the basics and theory of the proposed approach, this thesis focuses on the study of the most fundamental planar kinematic chains, namely, Baranov trusses, Assur kinematic chains, and pin-jointed Gr¨ubler kinematic chains. The results obtained have shown that the novel developed techniques are promising tools for the position analysis of kinematic chains and related problems. For example, using these techniques, the characteristic polynomials of most of the cataloged Baranov trusses can be obtained without relying on variable eliminations or trigonometric substitutions and using no other tools than elementary algebra. An outcome in clear contrast with the complex variable eliminations require when independent loop equations are used to tackle the problem. The impact of the above result is actually greater because it is shown that the characteristic polynomial of a Baranov truss, derived using the proposed distance-based techniques, contains all the necessary and sufficient information for solving the position
DescriptionTesis presentada por Nicolás Rojas a través del programa de doctorado "Automàtica, Robòtica i Visió" y realizada en el Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial, CSIC-UPC.
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