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Volume 25 Issue 11 - Publication Date: 1 November 2006
 
Computation and Graphical Characterization of Robust Multiple-Contact Postures in Two-Dimensional Gravitational Environments
 
Y. Or and E. Rimon Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Technion, Haifa, Israel 32000
 
This paper is concerned with computation and graphical characterization of robust equilibrium postures suited to quasistatic multi-legged locomotion. Quasistatic locomotion consists of postures in which the mechanism supports itself against gravity while moving its free limbs to new positions. A posture is robust if the contacts can passively support the mechanism against gravity as well as disturbance forces generated by its moving limbs. This paper is concerned with planar mechanisms supported by frictional contacts in two-dimensional gravitational environments. The kinematic structure of the mechanism is lumped into a rigid body B having the same contacts with the environment and a variable center of mass. Inertial forces generated by moving parts of the mechanism are lumped into a neighborhood of wrenches centered at the nominal gravitational wrench. The robust equilibrium postures associated with a given set of contacts become the center-of-mass locations of B that maintain equilibrium with respect to all wrenches in the given neighborhood. The paper formulates the computation of the robust center-of-mass locations as a linear programming problem. It provides graphical characterization of the robust center-of-mass locations, and gives a geometric algorithm for computing these center-of-mass locations. The paper reports experiments validating the equilibrium criterion on a two-legged prototype. Finally, it describes initial progress toward computation of robust equilibrium postures in three dimensions.
 
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