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The term “kinematics” refers to the study of the translational and rotational motion of objects without reference to mass, force or torque. Kinematics equations are used to describe three-dimensional motion of a multi-body system in terms of translational and rotational motions, linear and angular velocities. Kinematics analysis becomes important in the animation of articulated models and skeletal structures containing serial chains of joints and links.

To set the context for developing the kinematics equations for graphics applications, we first give an outline of robot manipulators comprising a chain of joints. Both forward and inverse kinematics equations of joint chains are then discussed in detail. Iterative numerical algorithms for computing joint angles for a given target position are also presented. These methods are useful for performing goal-directed motion in an animation sequence.


  • Joint Angle
  • Inverse Kinematic
  • World Coordinate System
  • Scene Graph
  • Inverse Kinematic Problem

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4471-2340-8_6
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Correspondence to Ramakrishnan Mukundan .

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© 2012 Springer-Verlag London Limited

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Mukundan, R. (2012). Kinematics. In: Advanced Methods in Computer Graphics. Springer, London.

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