Report Number: CS-TR-95-1559
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: On the number of equilibrium placements of mass distributions in elliptic potential fields
Author: Kavraki, Lydia E.
Date: December 1995
Abstract: Recent papers have demonstrated the use of force fields for mechanical part orientation. The force field is realized on a plane on which the part is placed. The forces exerted on the part's contact surface translate and rotate the part to an equilibrium orientation. Part manipulation by force fields is very attractive since it requires no sensing. We describe force fields that result from elliptic potentials and induce only 2 stable equilibrium orientations for most parts. The proposed fields represent a considerable improvement over previously developed force fields which produced O(n) equilibria for polygonal parts with n vertices. The successful realization of these force fields could significantly affect part manipulation in industrial automation.