Natural Resolution of Ill-Posed Inverse Kinematics for Redundant Robots: A Challenge to Bernstein’s Degrees-of-Freedom Problem
Suguru Arimoto*,** and Masahiro Sekimoto*
*Department of Robotics, Ritsumeikan University, 1-1-1 Nojihigashi, Kusatsu, Shiga 525-8577, Japan
**BMC Research Center, RIKEN, Nagoya, Aichi 463-0003, Japan
Over half a century ago, A. N. Bernstein observed that “dexterity” in human limb movement emerges from the involvement of multijoint motion with surplus degrees of freedom (DOF). Robotics posits that DOF redundancy in robot may enhance dexterity and versatility. Kinematic redundancy involves the problem of ill-posed inverse kinematics from task-description space to joint space. This problem is conventionally avoided by introducing an artificial performance index and uniquely determining an inverse kinematics solution by minimizing it. Instead of taking this conventional avoidance solution, we propose challenging Bernstein’s DOF problem by introducing two direct novel concepts – stability on a manifold and transferability to a submanifold – in dealing with human multijoint movement in reaching and showing that sensory feedback from task space to joint space together with adequate damping (joint velocity feedback) enables any solution to overall closed-loop dynamics to converge naturally and coordinately to a lower-dimensional manifold describing a set of joint states fulfilling a given motion task. This means that a reaching task is accomplished by sensory feedback with the appropriate choice of a stiffness parameter and damping coefficients without having to consider inverse kinematics. We also show that these concepts cope with the annoying “variability” of redundant joint motion seen typically in skilled human reaching. In conclusion, we propose a virtual spring/damper hypothesis that leads to natural control of skilled movement in redundant multijoint reaching.
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