Using Virtual Articulations to Operate High-DoF Inspection and Manipulation Motions

  • Marsette Vona
  • David Mittman
  • Jeffrey S. Norris
  • Daniela Rus
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics book series (STAR, volume 62)


We have developed a new operator interface system for high-DoF articulated robots based on the idea of allowing the operator to extend the robot’s actual kinematics with virtual articulations. These virtual links and joints can model both primary task DoF and constraints on whole-robot coordinated motion. Unlike other methods, our approach can be applied to robots and tasks of arbitrary kinematic topology, and allows specifying motion with a scalable level of detail. We present hardware results where NASA/JPL’s All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) executes previously challenging inspection and manipulation motions involving coordinated motion of all 36 of the robot’s joints.


Inverse Kinematic Priority Level Goal Model Virtual Link Operator Interface 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marsette Vona
    • 1
  • David Mittman
    • 2
  • Jeffrey S. Norris
    • 2
  • Daniela Rus
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridge
  2. 2.Jet Propulsion LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadena

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