Research line

Kinematics and Robot Design Image

The KINEMATICS AND ROBOT DESIGN Group carries out research on the design, construction, motion analysis, and control of complex mechanisms and structures. In robotics, these devices are parallel manipulators, multi-fingered hands, reconfigurable mechanisms, or cooperating robots, to name a few, but they appear in other domains too, as mechanistic models of locomotive organisms, molecular compounds or nano-structures.

Head of line: Josep Maria Porta Pleite

Head of line

Tech. transfer

Our activity finds applications in several fields through collaboration with our technological partners

Research projects

We carry out projects from national and international research programmes.
→ More about our research projects

<< Back to Kinematics and Robot Design main page

Robot design and construction

The group designs and constructs innovative mechatronic devices based mainly on parallel architectures. Our developments include the “Wrenchpad” (a six-axis tactile pad), several tensegrity-based robots, a pentaglide, several variations of the Gough-Stewart platform, different cable-driven robots, and the "Scherbot" robot (a five-bar mechanism to test kinodynamic motion planning and control techniques). The group also works on the development of various reconfigurable robots. These offer the possibility of reducing the number of actuators needed to perform a task, with the consequent decrease in construction costs. Moreover, reconfigurations can also be used to enlarge the robot’s workspace, or to avoid problematic configurations like singularities.

→ more info

Research area 1 of Kinematics

Position analysis of multibody systems

The group also develops techniques for position analysis of multiloop linkages. The problem consists in finding the possible configurations that a linkage can adopt while respecting the kinematic constraints imposed by its joints. The resulting techniques can be applied to robotics (in contexts like direct or inverse kinematics, cooperative manipulation, object grasping, and motion planning), to structural biology (e.g., to the conformational analysis of biomolecules), to multibody dynamics (initial position and finite displacement problems), and to computer-aided design (variational CAD and assembly positioning). The group works essentially on two approaches: one based on relaxation techniques, and the other based on characteristic polynomials using Distance Geometry. Many of the developments are implemented in the CUIK suite, a large toolbox for motion analysis and synthesis of closed-chain multibody systems.

→ more info

Research area 2 of Kinematics

Singularity analysis

Singularities play a prominent role on understanding the configuration space of a robot. Depending on their nature, singularities give rise to overspeeding problems, dexterity losses, or controllability issues. Thus, these configurations are often avoided during the usual operation of a robot, especially in applications that require careful human-robot interactions. Singularities, however, may also give rise to mechanical advantage (e.g., they can be used to transform small motor torques into large end-effector forces) and also provide the boundary of the workspace, which is a crucial information for the robot designer. The group has developed new geometric tools that allow characterizing and computing the various singularity loci of a robot, either for specific classes of parallel manipulators, or for general multi-body systems. New algorithms for controlling the motions across forward singularities are being developed too, which would allow the extension of the reachable workspace in parallel mechanisms.

→ more info

Research area 3 of Kinematics

Motion planning and control

Along this line, the group develops algorithms for the planning and control of motions of general constrained systems. These systems encompass robots subject to holonomic or nonholonomic constraints, like loop-closure, contact, or rolling constraints. The goal is to design feasible motions bringing the robot to a desired state without colliding with obstacles, and to obtain robust controllers to perform such motions. Several techniques have been developed to both ends, which either consider the kinematic constraints of the robot, or also the full dynamic model (including motor saturations and speed limits). In both cases, innovative methods based on higher-dimensional continuation and randomised sampling techniques have been proposed for the planning of motions. The control of motions, in turn, is achieved by means of optimal control and trajectory optimization techniques. The group has also investigated the connections with related problems in biochemistry, contributing with novel algorithms for finding low-energy paths between different molecular conformations.

→ more info

Research area 4 of Kinematics

These are the latest research projects of the Kinematics and Robot Design research line:

These are the most recent publications (2020 - 2019) of the Kinematics and Robot Design

  • S. Sarabandi, A. Shabani, J.M. Porta and F. Thomas. On closed-form formulas for the 3D nearest rotation matrix problem. IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 2020, to appear.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF
  • O. Bohigas. Singularity set computation: A hands-on session with the CUIK suite. In Singular Configurations of Mechanisms and Manipulators, 39-65. Springer, 2019.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF
  • S. Sarabandi and F. Thomas. A survey on the computation of quaternions from rotation matrices. Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, 11(2): 021006, 2019.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF
  • P. Grosch and F. Thomas. Parallel Robots With Unconventional Joints. Kinematics and Motion Planning. Volume of Parallel Robots: Theory and Applications. Springer, 2019.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info
  • E. Celaya. Solution intervals for variables in spatial RCRCR linkages. Mechanism and Machine Theory, 133: 481-492, 2019.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF
  • F. Simao, F. Martínez-Jerónimo, V. Blasco, F. Moreno-Noguer, J.M. Porta, J. Pestana, A. Soarez, D. Raldúa and C. Barata. Using a new high-throughput video-tracking platform to assess behavioural changes in Daphnia magna exposed to neuro-active drugs. Science of the Total Environment, 662: 160-167, 2019.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF
  • S. Sarabandi, A. Perez and F. Thomas. On Cayley's factorization with an application to the orthonormalization of noisy rotation matrices. Advances in Applied Clifford Algebras, 29: 49, 2019.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF
  • A. Shabani, S. Sarabandi, J.M. Porta and F. Thomas. A fast branch-and-prune algorithm for the position analysis of spherical mechanisms, 15th IFToMM World Congress on Mechanism and Machine Science, 2019, Krakow, Poland, in Advances in Mechanism and Machine Science, Vol 73 of Mechanism and Machine Science, pp. 549-558, Springer.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF
  • R. Bordalba, L. Ros and J.M. Porta. A randomized kinodynamic planner for closed-chain robotic systems. Technical Report IRI-TR-19-02, Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial, CSIC-UPC, 2019.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF
  • A. Bazaga, M. Roldán, C. Badosa, C. Jiménez-Mallebrera and J.M. Porta. A convolutional neural network for the automatic diagnosis of collagen VI-related muscular dystrophies. Applied Soft Computing, 85: 105772, 2019.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF
  • M. Faria, A. Valls, E. Prats, J. Bedrossiantz, M. Orozco, J.M. Porta, L.M. Gómez-Oliván and D. Raldúa. Further characterization of the zebrafish model of acrylamide acute neurotoxicity: gait abnormalities and oxidative stress. Scientific Reports, 9(7075): 1-7, 2019.

    Open/Close abstract Abstract Info Info pdf PDF

Kinematic and Robot Design Laboratory

The Kinematics and Robot Design Laboratory was created thanks to the financial support of the VALTEC program, co-financed with FEDER funds, of the Autonomous Goverment of Catalonia. It was initially created to validate the practical interest of our parallel robot designs, but it has rapidly derived into an active lab where the prototypes designed by the researchers of the Group of Kinematics and Robot Design are implemented as proofs of concept.

Kinematic and Robot Design Laboratory
Group photo

Researchers

PhD Students

Master Students