From Artificial Intelligence Series

Robot Hands and the Mechanics of Manipulation

By Matthew T. Mason and J. Kenneth Salisbury





Robot Hands and the Mechanics of Manipulation explores several aspects of the basic mechanics of grasping, pushing, and in general, manipulating objects. It makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the motion of objects in the presence of friction, and to the development of fine position and force controlled articulated hands capable of doing useful work.In the book's first section, kinematic and force analysis is applied to the problem of designing and controlling articulated hands for manipulation. The analysis of the interface between fingertip and grasped object then becomes the basis for the specification of acceptable hand kinematics. A practical result of this work has been the development of the Stanford/JPL robot hand - a tendon-actuated, 9 degree-of-freedom hand which is being used at various laboratories around the country to study the associated control and programming problems aimed at improving robot dexterity. Chapters in the second section study the characteristics of object motion in the presence of friction. Systematic exploration of the mechanics of pushing leads to a model of how an object moves under the combined influence of the manipulator and the forces of sliding friction. The results of these analyses are then used to demonstrate verification and automatic planning of some simple manipulator operations.

Robot Hands and the Mechanics of Manipulation is 14th in the Artificial Intelligence Series, edited by Patrick Henry Winston and Michael Brady.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262132053 275 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • These two works represent milestones in the evolution of robotics, opening up new areas of research and leading towards advanced dexterity. The themes are subtly connected, as Mason's compliant motions are a likely fundamental motor strategy of Salisbury's hand.

    Dr. John M. Hollerbach

  • Matt Mason and Ken Salisbury are among the very best people working in robotics. The two of them shared the 1983 SDF prize for the best thesis in robotics - a prize they justly deserve. Their book will have great value for specialists in robotics, for senior graduate students, and for sophisticated practioners.

    Marc H. Raibert

    Associate Professor of Computer Science and Robotics