Generic Singularities of Robot Manipulators

Ming-Chuan Leu, Missouri University of Science and Technology
D. K. Pai

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The singularities of the differential kinematic map, i.e. of the manipulator Jacobian, are considered. The authors first examine the notion of a generic kinematic map, whose singularities form smooth manifolds of prescribed dimension in the joint space of the manipulator. For three-joint robots, an equivalent condition for genericity using determinants is derived. The condition lends itself to symbolic computation and is sufficient for the study of decoupled manipulators, i.e. manipulators that an be separated into a three-joint translating part and a three-joint orienting part. The results are illustrated by analyzing the singularities of two classes of three-joint positioning robots.