"Manipulation" refers to a variety of physical changes made to the world around us. Mechanics of Robotic Manipulation addresses one form of robotic manipulation, moving objects, and the various processes involved—grasping, carrying, pushing, dropping, throwing, and so on. Unlike most books on the subject, it focuses on manipulation rather than manipulators. This attention to processes rather than devices allows a more fundamental approach, leading to results that apply to a broad range of devices, not just robotic arms.
The book draws both on classical mechanics and on classical planning, which introduces the element of imperfect information. The book does not propose a specific solution to the problem of manipulation, but rather outlines a path of inquiry.
The present surge of interest in robotics can be expected to continue through the 1980s. Major research efforts are springing up throughout industry and in the universities. Senior and graduate level courses are being developed or planned in many places to prepare students to contribute to the development of the field and its industrial applications. Robot Motion will serve this emerging audience as a single source of information on current research in the field.
The book brings together nineteen papers of fundamental importance to the development of a science of robotics. These are grouped in five sections: Dynamics; Trajectory Planning; Compliance and Force Control; Feedback Control; and Spatial Planning. Each section is introduced by a substantial analytical survey that lays out the problems that arise in that area of robotics and the approaches and solutions that have been tried, with an evaluation of their strengths and shortcomings. In addition, there is an overall introduction that relates robotics research to general trends in the development of artificial intelligence.
Individual papers are the work of H. Hanafusa, H. Asada, N. Hogan, M. T. Mason, R. Paul, B. Shimano, M. H. Raibert, J. J. Craig, R. H. Taylor, D. E. Whitney, J. M. Hollerbach, J. Luh, M. Walker, R. J. Popplestone, A. P. Ambler, I. M. Bellos, T. LozanoPerez, E. Freund, D. F. Golla, S. C. Garg, P. C. Hughes, and K. D. Young.
Robot Motion is included in the MIT Press Artificial Intelligence Series.